A department in mourning fills with light at vigil for Officer Smith (with photos)
Johnson City, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A police department in mourning is embraced by an open-armed community and family at candlelight vigil for fallen Johnson City Police Officer David Smith. Officer Smith died in the line of duty on Monday. More than 500 community members, family and friends lit candles in front of the Johnson City Police Department on Tuesday evening. The sunset was slow as hearts of many fell as bagpipes played 'Amazing Grace.' JCPD stood tall and together while remembering its fallen brother and looking into a crowd of supporting strangers. "Yesterday's events shook us to our very core and left a void that cannot be filled," said Lt. Michael Hatch of the Johnson City Police Department. Hatch spoke on behalf of the department along with JCPD's Chaplain Fr. Dennis Ruda. "The last 36 hours have been some of the hardest we've ever faced as a family," Hatch said. Many people in the crowd didn't know Officer Smith personally, but a handful had the chance to call him a friend. "Dave was a jokester," said Jeff Huddle. Huddle, an investigator for the Ithaca Police Department, went through the Broome County Police Academy with Smith. "He always had a smile on his face, he always had a good sense of humor," Huddle said. That humor is something Smith, also known as D.W., was known for and his personality caught onto many strands of local law enforcement. "Never had a bad word to say about anybody, hard worker, hard charger, a great spirit," said New York State Trooper Michael Franz. Franz and Huddle said there is one thing they will always remember about Smith, his smile. "Take D.W.'s smile home with you, he smiles when you enter a room, take it with you," Franz said. The vigil was the first of many events for Officer Smith; calling hours are from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday at Wm. R. Chase & Son Funeral Home at 737 Chenango Street in Port Dickinson. The funeral will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday at Sarah Jane Johnson Memorial Church at 308 Main St. in Johnson City.