Bloomfield grad heading up Meth Task Force in Crawford County
In April, 1998 Bloomfield Jr.-Sr. High School graduate Darrell Smith, who works as a deputy with the Crawford County Sheriff's Department, stumbled upon a meth lab.
An arrest was made, the first for a newly established county-wide Meth Suppression Task Force, that Smith organized a few weeks earlier.
"One of the problems our county was facing was that we have several agencies here and no one was really sharing information and we were all kind of running circles around each other with our independent investigations," Smith told the Greene County Daily World. "I decided to put together a team of officers who are dedicated and passionate about kicking the meth problem in our county and created the first Meth Suppression Task Force in the history of our county."
The "Meth Team" made its second and third arrests earlier this month after a methamphetamine lab was discovered in Marengo.
Smith said the sheriff's department had been collecting information about the lab for a while and, after the investigation produced enough evidence, officers secured a search warrant for the location.
The two suspects were charged with eight felony counts, including being within 1,000 feet of a school, 1,000 feet of a park (Marengo Cave) and within 1,000 feet of family housing.
The task force includes officers from the Crawford County Sheriff's Department, the Indiana State Police, the Milltown Police Department, and the English Police Department.
Smith has been with the Crawford County Sheriff's Department since November 2008.
He graduated from the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy with honors and served as class president.
"I think one of the neatest things about this whole thing is being a fairly new officer and taking on this massive responsibility. As the Commanding Officer for the MSTF, all meth information must come across my desk before anyone makes a move. These 'dopers' are sneaky and paranoid so we have to take a very systematic approach and not jump the gun. I think my military service and time spent in Iraq has definitely given me the tools to run a successful team," Smith explained.
The Moorseville native moved to Greene County near Bloomfield in 1997.
After high school graduation a year later, he enrolled at Vincennes University studying robotics. When his money ran short, he returned home and went to work at the Bloomfield IGA store.
Soon, he decided it was time to follow up on his idea to enlist in the U.S. Army in 2000.
Smith, who now lives in Milltown, received an honorable discharge in 2005 after doing a tour of duty in Iraq.
Smith, whose mother, Donita Robinson, lives in rural Bloomfield, was deployed to the Middle East as a member of the 3rd Armor Calvary Regiment.
His job as a senior gunner on a M1-A2 Abrams tank put him on the front lines of the U.S. military move through Iraq from Kuwait.
In 2006, he was nominated and won the 2006 U.S. Army Leadership Award and received a three day, two night all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas where the awards ceremony was conducted. He also received a trophy as well as $5,000.
After he was discharged from the military, he took a position with General Electric as a Special Projects Supervisor.
After being laid off by GE, Smith went to work as operations director for Premier Health and Fitness gym. In that job, he was in charge of the daily operations for six gyms in the Louisville, Ky., area and directed a staff of approximately 40 people.
Still feeling military and community service was still something he wanted to do as career, he turned to law enforcement.
"I guess I finally realized that my heart was still in the military and wanted to do something more along the lines of serving so I decided to put in an application with the sheriff's department," Smith said.
He is encouraged with the initial success of the Meth Task Force.
"Meth is a huge problem in our county and I am hoping that our recent efforts will raise awareness and get the public involved. We actually just activated an anonymous tip line program called "WeTip" where people can call a 1-800 number and stay completely anonymous. Creating a community task force is certainly on my to-do list."
Smith said he is happy with the work that he is doing in Crawford County, but would love to come back to Greene County, if any positions ever came open.