The Cleveland Police Museum is honored to tell the stories of our Fallen Officers on the anniversary of their End of Watch.
Thomas J. Smith was commissioned a patrolman in December, 1963 and served in the city’s Fifth District. Before joining the police force, he served in the Army as a Private First Class stationed in Alaska from 1958 to 1960.
During the first day of the Glenville Riot on July 23, 1968, Patrolman Thomas J. Smith dodged gunfire to pull two wounded fellow officers to safety as members of Fred (Ahmed) Evans’ black nationalist group shot carbines at the police. While attempting to help a third officer, Smith was shot and instantly paralyzed from the waist down. Smith lay on the ground for two hours during the shootout until rescuers could reach him.
Smith received the City of Cleveland Medal of Valor in 1969 for actions above and beyond the call of duty and was officially retired from the Cleveland Police Department in 1987. Smith spent his last 25 years in a wheelchair or a bed. He died of a blood infection and heart failure on March 9, 1993.
Smith was survived by his daughter Elizabeth Veomett, his sister Margaret and his brother Bernard. Arrangements were handled by the Zabor funeral home and services were held at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Brooklyn.