Smith Honored by Congressman Thompson
CLARKSDALE – Rico Smith spends most his time trying to reach at-risk youth in the Coahoma County community before criminals and bad choices get to them first.
In addition to his position as Chief of Police in Tutwiler—one of Coahoma Community College’s service areas—Smith works as the Community Liaison Case Manager for CCC’s Toney Gobar program in Quitman County. Funded by the Mississippi Department of Human Services, the Toney Gobar program works with adolescent youth at risk of entering the juvenile justice system.
For his efforts, Smith was recently added to the United States Congressional Record after he was recognized by Congressman Bennie Thompson for his diligence as a law enforcement officer and his contributions to the youth of Mississippi.
“He is so special. He has a true desire to be a change agent for the youth of Coahoma County,” said Loretta Palmer, CCC’s adolescent opportunity program (AOP) coordinator.
Although he is stationed in Tutwiler, Palmer said Smith willingly, and on his own time, checks up with kids in the Clarksdale area that fail to make their curfew check-ins with the AOP program.
“He is a true advocate for youth. He works 24-7 and never says no whenever he can offer services to a child and their family. …He is truly deserving.”
Smith is 1985 graduate of Coahoma Agricultural High School and a 1987 graduate of CCC. He entered the United States Army for three years and was in the Army Band. He later attended Mississippi Valley State University and the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers’ Training Academy in Pearl, MS.
He began his law enforcement career in 1995 as a patrolman and juvenile officer with the Friars Point Police Department.
After serving as Chief of Police for Coahoma, Miss., Smith began working with Coahoma Community College’s AOP program in 2008. During that time, he also served the community as a Deputy Sheriff for the Coahoma County Sheriff’s Department. Recognizing his commitment to service, Smith was appointed as a member of the Governor Haley Barbour’s Children’s Justice Act Task Force and served in that capacity from 2006 to 2010.
Smith is a former member of the Coahoma County School Board. In addition to his work with the Tony Gobar program, Smith also provides crisis interventions training for staff members in both the AOP and Gobar programs.