Cherokee County District Attorney Mike O’Dell announced that Danny Smith officially retired from his service as a DA Investigator on May 31, 2013. “Danny’s departure ends a longtime career of distinguished service,” O’Dell said. “He began his employment in this office in 1977. His service, spanning nearly 4 decades, will be remembered for the professionalism and determination he displayed in every case. He was not only an outstanding investigator, but he was a teacher and mentor for numerous law enforcement professionals over the years.”
“Danny will be sorely missed in our office,” O’Dell continued. “He was my “go-to guy” in all our major cases. No task was too big or too small. His heart was in helping people who were hurting and in need of closure. He was a “bulldog” once he became involved in a violent crime investigation. He wouldn’t quit until he had solved the case and then laid it out for the attorneys to begin prosecution.”
Investigator Smith was involved in many “high-profile” cases in his illustrious career, including such capital murder cases as Judith Neely, Keith Gavin and Barbara Roberts. He was recognized in the late 1990s by the State Investigators Association as “Investigator of the Year,” an honor that DA O’Dell maintains was very deserving and fitting. “Danny was respected all over the state for his investigative abilities. It was very gratifying to our entire office to have him recognized for such a distinguished award. It was clearly a recognition of the high esteem his peers had for him.”
A little over three years ago, in anticipation of his intent to retire, Investigator Smith signed up for the “DROP PROGRAM.” His three years concluded on February 1, 2013. “Danny and I had several discussions concerning his desire to retire,” O’Dell said. “My office budget had suffered nearly $700,000 in cuts since 2008. He knew staff reductions were inevitable without some relief. Along with two other long-time employees, who were also finishing up their time on the “DROP”, he informed me of his intention to retire this past February. Because we had several major prosecutions set for jury trials this past spring, I asked him to remain on staff through May. He graciously agreed to do so.”
“The selfless actions of these three employees has enabled us to withstand the current budget crisis. All three were offered the opportunity to come back on a part-time basis. My Office Administrator and our Drug Investigator agreed to return. This enabled me to continue to utilize their skills at a substantially reduced salary, with no benefits, such as health insurance and retirement, since they were receiving these benefits in their retired capacity,” O’Dell pointed out. “Danny chose not to take advantage of this offer.”
O’Dell did agree to keep Danny on as a “reserve officer,’ without compensation, in order for him to keep his law enforcement certification.
O’Dell remarked that Danny Smith was not only an extremely competent investigator, but he was humble as well. When O’Dell offered to host a retirement function for him, present him with a plaque for his years of service, and allow his fellow law enforcement friends to “roast” him, Danny rejected that offer as well. “I believe that when he had decided to “hang it up”, he wanted to go out quietly, without fanfare. That is just the way he is. Unfortunately for all of us who wanted to honor him for his many years of faithful service, we weren’t able to give him the send off we had hoped. But on behalf of myself, my office, law enforcement throughout the Ninth Circuit, and the many, many citizens of both counties whose lives were touched in a very positive way by his outstanding service, I want to say a heartfelt ‘Thank You.’ You will be greatly missed.”