BY SARAH STEPHENS, OWNER/EDITOR
Photo courtesy of Alabama Association Chiefs of Police
Former Coosada Police Chief Leon Sr., (Retired) died of natural causes March 23 at approximately 5:50 p.m., according to his son, the current Coosada Police Chief, Leon Smith, Jr.
Chief Smith Sr., served in his position at Coosada Police Department for 21 years before retiring a few years ago. Funeral arrangements will be scheduled at a later date and we will share that information when it is available.
Aside from serving as Chief, Smith was also a beloved bus driver for Elmore County Public Schools. Superintendent Richard Dennis knew him well, and Smith’s widow works for Coosada Elementary.
Dennis said the passing of Smith, Sr. is a sad time, and he appreciates how supportive both Smith and his wife have been over the years to the school. “It did not go unnoticed,” Dennis said.
Kelly Pomeroy, with the Coosada Fire Department, grew up with Smith as her bus driver, and said she has known him her entire life.
“Every time I rode the bus and he was driving he would give me a sucker. He always stood up for the fire department. He was such a good man and I will miss him,” Pomeroy said.
Former Elmore County Public Schools Supt. Andre Harrison had this to say about his friend. “I met Chief Smith almost 20 years ago; he was always faithful to his students and a leader within his community, our county, and beyond. Regardless of my position as an administrator in Elmore County Schools, I always knew I could call on Chief Smith when I needed a helping hand. My prayers are with his family.”
“He has been a friend for over 24 years,” Millbrook Police Chief P.K. Johnson said. “I worked with him for a long time as Coosada is just right here next to us. I remember we had a tornado with a fatality years ago and Chief Smith was right there with us. He was always there when you needed him as an officer and a friend and we are certainly going to miss him.”
The following messages were sent after the original article was published. If you have a comment you would like added, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
From Hannah Skinner, RN: “I am disheartened to hear of Chief Smith’s passing. As a lifelong resident of Coosada, he has been such a kind neighbor and civil servant. When I was in the fourth grade, he was acting chief for the Coosada Police Department. I had a project for my history class. He was so kind as to let me interview him and take a photo with him for my project. He helped me even when he was busy and took the time to assist 10-year-old girl. He was a wonderful and caring person! He will be missed, and Coosada won’t be the same without him! May he rest in peace!”
From Prattville Police Assistant Chief Diane Thomas: “As a veteran police officer, he always made time to give me invaluable advice/information during our Chief’s conferences. A very encouraging person, he was. Just last week I was speaking to his son and during our conversation I asked how his father was doing. I’m going to miss him, he was a giant in law enforcement and he left a great legacy for his family and the community he served. God Bless the Smith family and the entire county of Elmore.”
Elaine and Mack Philyaw, children and the staff at Ashlyns Cake Cottage : “I remember the quote, ‘It does not matter the house you lived in or the car you drove, but what is important is the impact you had on a child.’ Leon Smith will be remembered by hundreds because of his love for children. I call Leon a friend. He was not only our down the street neighbor, our police chief, but also my children’s bus driver. He gave hope and love to my children and step-grandchildren. My children’s daddy left when they were young and Leon provided them with positive attention and love every day. At the end of the year, he awarded the best children with a $5.00 bill. My children always received it because they loved to please Mr. Leon.
“This man also worked at Coosada Elementary as the Police chief / school officer during the time my daughter taught there. He was so kind and yet could be stern when needed. I am sure that many will remember him fondly. Go rest high on that mountain Leon. Heaven needed someone else to help with the children in heaven. You and your big smile will be missed greatly. Condolences to his wife Velma, our cookie lady, and his children. Prayers for the coming days.”
Jeff Langham, former Elmore County and State Superintendent of Public Schools: “I have such great memories of Leon Smith. He was not only a friend, but also a great supporter of our school district. On more than one occasion, he readily provided assistance when I reached out to him. Leon’s exemplary community spirit served as blessing to us all!”
In speaking with people a simple picture was painted about Smith’s life. As the Chief of a small community, where everyone knows everyone, he would often choose compassion, but also understood about keeping laws in check.
We have reached out to several other officials, and as we hear back from them, we will edit this story to include more comments and/or information. If you have a comment you would like to add, please email email@example.com.
The Elmore/Autauga News extends our deepest condolences to the family and Coosada community.