In Memory of Deputy Sheriff William H. Smith
Alabama Deputy Drowns in the Gulf of Mexico
Alabama residents were stunned to hear the news that a local deputy had died while attempting a rescue over the weekend. On Sunday, June 6, 2021, Deputy Sheriff William H. Smith drowned while trying to rescue distressed swimmers in the Gulf of Mexico. Smith was 57 years old, yet despite his age and the equipment he was wearing, he went into the water to rescue the life of another.
Smith, a retired firefighter from northern Alabama, served with the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office for the past seven years. At around 6:00 pm, four swimmers decided to venture out for a swim in the gulf near Indie Condos on Dune Drive. A call came into the department about a swimmer in possible distress, and several law enforcement officers in the area answered the call.
Deputy Smith went in the water to save another person’s life and tragically lost his own. Another deputy, Sydney Wentworth, also nearly drowned and had to be rescued by other emergency personnel. She was treated at the local hospital and released. Deputy Smith was pronounced dead when he arrived.
Smith is the second officer to lose their life in the US in the past weekend during a water rescue attempt. Water safety is essential for everyone to follow.
Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office
Smith had served with the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office. The BCSO is the primary law enforcement agency for the unincorporated areas of Baldwin County, Alabama. Located in Bay Minette, Alabama, the county covers 437 square miles of coastline and waterways that the sheriff’s office patrols.
The BSO was initiated in 1809 with its first sheriff, Benjamin Baldwin. The deputies patrol an area of approximately 2,027 square miles and serve a population of roughly 224,000 residents.
Deputy Smith leaves behind his family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. All will come together to grieve and celebrate the life of Deputy William H. Smith. He touched many lives through his civil service. He spent more than thirty years as a firefighter and worked as a deputy with the Calhoun County Sheriff’s office for many years. Many individuals in the community will honor him as he is laid to rest with the many honors he has earned.
The Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office released a statement regarding the loss of Deputy Smith. “It is with great sadness the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office has to confirm the loss of one of our own. Deputy Bill Smith passed away last night, June 6th, while attempting a water rescue of a swimmer in distress on Fort Morgan Road. Another deputy also had entered the water in an attempt to rescue the individuals as well. That deputy was transported to a hospital and is going to be OK. All of the swimmers (3) who were in distress are being treated for the non-life-threatening situation. Deputy Smith was a seven-year veteran of the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office. Thank you for keeping Deputy Smith’s family and the sheriff’s office in your prayers.”
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall shared his condolences. “Tonight, we have lost a brave Deputy in the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office, and another is in the hospital after an accident while trying to rescue swimmers in distress. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and the entire Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office.”