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Notable Southern Oregonian Dennis 'C.W.' Smith Passes Away

Dennis Smith was Jackson County Sheriff for 12 years, served two terms as County Commissioner, and spent time leading both Talent and Medford Police.

Posted: Jun. 11, 2018 2:00 PM
Updated: Jun. 11, 2018 4:52 PM

EAGLE POINT, Ore. — Dennis C.W. Smith died overnight after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.

A native Oregonian, C.W. was born in Medford and raised in Central Point. He graduated from Crater High School in 1966, where he was elected as the student body vice-president.

Following high school, he served in the United States Air Force and is a Vietnam veteran.

From 1983 to 1995 C.W. was the Jackson County Sheriff, where he was involved with new and innovated programs, including Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) which he brought to the kids of Jackson county. He was elected president of Southern Oregon Drug Awareness and is responsible for revitalizing Jackson county's Search and Rescue program and reinvigorating the Jackson county Marine Patrol program. C.W. was voted Oregon “Sheriff of the Year” from 1989 to 1990. From 2003 to 2004 C.W. served as the Jackson County Sheriff's Administrative Services Division Captain.

In addition to Jackson county law enforcement C.W. served as police chief for the city of Talent, the interim city manager for Lakeview, a radio talk show host, a private insurance business owner, a farmer, and an artist.

In 2005 he was elected as a Jackson County Board Commissioner and was re-elected in 2008. In the past, he served as chair 2007, 2008, and 2011, and vice chair 2010.

According to his website biography, during the 2012 calendar year, Commissioner Smith was the board liaison to the following county departments and/or committees: Animal Control Program under Health and Human Services, Community Justice, District Attorney, Justice Court, Urban Renewal and Economic Development, Natural Resources Advisory Committee (NRAC), Veterans' Advisory Committee, and Watermaster, as well as the Urban Renewal Agency, White City Enhanced Law Enforcement District, and White City Lighting District.

Commissioner Smith also serves as liaison to the following: Association of Oregon Counties (AOC), Job Council, Regional Advisory Committee (RAC), Rural Community Development (RC&D), Soil and Water Conservation District, Vector Control, and Watershed Council.

On his website biography he says "I was born and raised in Jackson county and have served in the public and private sectors all my adult life. I am pro-people and pro-business and have devoted myself to issues related to our environment. My goals include enhancing education, promoting family wage jobs, and supporting a robust economy while preserving our unique quality of life."

He leaves behind his wife Gina, and three adult children.

This is a developing story, and we will be updating it with more information and remembrances of C.W. If you have any thoughts, memories, or well-wishes regarding C.W., please share them in the comments below—or visit our Facebook page to post photos.

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