Annie Deitz, Campus Carrier managing editor

Sergeant Jeff Smith died last Friday Jan. 29 due to COVID-19 complications. He joined the Berry police force in 1996 and had been working with the department for 25 years. Last year Smith received the Oris W. Bryant Officer of the year award from the Georgia Association of Campus Law Enforcement for his service to the Berry community. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Baggett

According to an email from the President’s Office, last Friday night, Berry Campus Police Sergeant Jeff Smith died of COVID-19. 

Smith served in the Berry Police Department for 25 years. Chief of Police Jonathan Baggett explained that aside from himself, Smith was the most senior officer in the department.

“Behind me, Jeff was the most senior member,” Baggett said. “His service was continuous too, which mine hasn’t been. We don’t have anyone else who’s been here that long.”

Last year, Smith was the recipient of the Oris W. Bryant Officer of the Year Award from the Georgia Association of Campus Law Enforcement. According to Baggett, their department nominated him because of his professionalism and general dedication to campus service. 

Smith is the first Berry student, faculty, or staff member to die from COVID-19 since the pandemic began. As Baggett explained, Smith would encourage everyone to take the coronavirus seriously and to continue to engage in mitigative measures. 

“If he would have wanted anything to come out of this, he would have wanted people to understand just how serious this virus is,” Baggett said. “Wash your hands, wear your mask, it’s a big deal.” 

Posted by Campus Carrier

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