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May the Force Be With You, Lt. Smith

Ron Smith is going to have a lot of changes to get used to, and one of them is a change in title. Smith, a lieutenant with the Norwalk Police Department, is about to become the police chief in Beaver Dam, Wis.

After 27 years with the NPD, Smith has joined the BDPD , the victor in a nationwide search. Beaver Dam officials received 40 applications for the job of police chief, according to Smith. On Nov. 30 they called Smith to tell him he had the job.

Smith said that is because of the experience he gained in Norwalk and the education he worked hard to attain.[breakhere]

"I've been able to work in a lot of different divisions in the Norwalk Police Department," he said. "Once I got on the job I realized that in order to get ahead I was going to need to develop myself educationally."

Smith picked up associate's and bachelor's degrees in criminal justice and earned master's degrees in industrial organizational psychology and criminal justice administration.

He has been commander of internal affairs division of the professional standards unit since 2009. That will help in his new job. "The nice thing about being in charge is that you bring your mindset with you and you are able to set up the department with latitude as to how it's going to be run," he said.

Smith, 51, was born in Rockford, Ill., 70 miles from Beaver Dam, but he hasn't been back since he was 2 years old. His family moved a lot during his childhood, and he lived in Alabama, Atlanta, Cleveland, New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts before coming to Connecticut.

He has two children, ages 14 and 16, who will stay behind with his wife of 26 years.

His experience with the NPD includes working with a narcotics task force, community policing and being a shift commander in the patrol division.

"He was always one of those supervisors that you wanted to work for," said Sgt. Lisa Cotto. "He was always willing to help, get his hands dirty, fair with everybody, very approachable if you had a question."

Smith said he is proud of his service and is going to miss the "very, very good people" in the department. Leaving is bittersweet.

"This is 27 years in the same organization that I've grown up in," he said. "This is what I know. This is a city that I've put a lot of hours in, working for and behalf of the people out here."

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