In Memory of Patrol Officer Howard K. Smith III
Oklahoma officials informed residents that a local police officer had died in the line of duty. On Monday, September 27, 2021, Patrol Officer Howard K. Smith III, badge number 942, died due to complications from contracting COVID19 while on duty. Officer Smith was 52 years old.
COVID19 is now the number one cause of line of duty deaths among law enforcement. Nearly 200 officers have died in the line of duty due to COVID19 in 2021. Federal law mandates that these be treated with full death benefits so that the families of these officers will have what they need for their future.
Patrol Officer Smith served in law enforcement for a total of 26 years. Smith had been a sworn officer with the Owasso Police Department for 21 years. During his time with the department, Smith held various duties, most recently, Assistant SWAT Commander. Smith is the second officer in the Owasso department to die from COVID19 this year.
Owasso Police Department, Oklahoma
Owasso is a medium-sized city with about 37,000 residents. The town’s name Owasso is the Osage Indian word for “end of the road.” Owasso was incorporated in 1904 and adapted the native-heritage name. Then, the city was centered around a train depot, the “end of the line” for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company.
Once the city was incorporated, administration and other offices such as law enforcement were quickly initiated. As a result, today, the town of Owasso follows its timely motto: “Real people, real character, and real community. The police department is actively involved in community policing and have also adopted a motto “to work in partnership with the citizens of Owasso to prevent crime, enforce the laws and to enhance the quality of life in our community.”
Police officers patrol an area of approximately 17.2 square miles. As a suburb of Tulsa, the officers also take on additional security jobs at large corporations like American Airlines, Whirlpool, and The Nordam Group.
Patrol Officer Howard K. Smith III leaves behind his wife and daughter. He also left behind friends, extended family, neighbors, and coworkers who will also mourn the loss with the Smith family. Smith will receive full honors at his services. Area honor guards and law enforcement will gather to commemorate his life and help the community show Smith gratitude for his sacrifice.
The Owasso Police Department announced the loss to residents on their Facebook page. “The Owasso Police Department mourns the loss of Officer Howard Smith. Howard is a 26-year veteran of the Owasso Police Department. Howard succumbed to complications associated with COVID while in the hospital at 1:58 PM, Monday, September 27th, 2021. All our thoughts and prayers are with the Smith family during this difficult time, and our officers and staff ask for prayers and strength. Rest easy, Howie; we love you, you will be missed. RIP #942.”
Owassoisms, a community organization, posted their sorrow online. “Owasso Police Officer Howard Smith is someone I called friend. After 36 days in the hospital, Officer Smith’s battle with COVID has come to an end. Officer Smith spent many years serving our community and helping make it a better place to live. There is much more I want to say, but I currently cannot see through the tears. RIP 942.”