Waller County Sheriff R. Glenn Smith died Aug. 1 of an apparent heart attack according to an announcement from Waller County Judge Trey Duhon.
Smith, who was 61 years old, had 43 years of law enforcement experience during his life with about 12 years as Waller County Sheriff.
“Sheriff Smith cared deeply for all of the citizens of our county and the employees under his care. This comes as a huge shock to all of us here within the county, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time,” Duhon said.
Smith is survived by his wife Deedee; son Kevin Smith and his wife Jennifer Smith; daughter Baylee Adams and husband Bodie Adams and his grandchildren Rosalind and Connor.
During his time as sheriff, Smith helped WCSO deal with the death of Sandra Bland which made national headlines in 2015, and was involved in the planning process for the new Waller County Justice Center which offers improved safety for both detainees and officers. Shortly before passing, Smith said he had created a culture within WCSO that promoted fair and just policing.
“It must always be mandated that everyone be treated the same – with courtesy, fairness and respect,” Smith said during his reelection bid earlier this year.
Smith said in December 2019 that he understood his department’s responsibility for the safety of county residents and the 160,000 people that travel through it daily and the impact that has on the county’s economy. That’s why he had worked to develop the justice center which will double the old jail’s capacity, he said.
Smith was first elected as Waller County sheriff in 2009. Smith said during his comments at a State of the Region panel in December that he was proud to see policing develop as a true profession during his time in law enforcement.
Smith was very proud of his officers for the care they provided to Waller County residents and their eagerness to educate those they serve and work toward preventive solutions, including the department’s Criminal Activity Target Team. The CATT has helped prevent the incursion of gangs, drugs, sex offenders, burglaries and other crimes in the county on a proactive level, Smith said in a January statement. He was especially proud that the CATT had been developed by its members out of dedication to county residents.
During his tenure, Smith also worked with Crime Stoppers to create a 10 most wanted list, and nine of the 19 people that had been on that list as of December had been captured.
Outside of law enforcement, Smith was active in the community through his memberships in various organizations including Waller Baptist Church, as president of the Hempstead Lions Club, Gideons International, the Waller County Fair Association, the National Rifle Association, the Sons of the Republic of Texas, and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
Smith’s education included a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice from Sam Houston State University, additional education from Prairie View A&M University and certification as a master peace officer. He was also a licensed insurance agent.
This was to be Smith’s last year in office after he lost a runoff election in June to Republican candidate Troy Guidry.
“We are sending out our prayers to Glenn Smith’s family, friends and co-workers. He was a great man and will be truly missed,” Guidry’s campaign said in a Facebook post.
An interim sheriff is expected to be appointed soon, Duhon said.
Friends of the Smith family also took to Facebook to offer their condolences.
“I had the honor and privilege of working for Glenn and Deedee at Sabine Insurance for over 15 years! He was truly one of the best! I have a lot of great memories of Glenn that I will cherish forever,” said Teresa Neal on social media platform.
Funeral services were held Aug. 5 at 11 a.m. at Community of Faith Church in Hockley with Pastor John Brandt officiating. A private interment for the family is scheduled to be held at the Hemphill Cemetery Aug. 6. The family has asked that donations be made to the Texas Sheriff’s Association in lieu of flowers.
“In honor of Sheriff Smith’s service to Waller County, I have ordered flags in Waller County to be flown at half-staff for the next 30 days,” Duhon said.
Austin County Judge Tim Lapham also offered his condolences.
“We are saddened by the loss of Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith,” he said. “I’m sure others knew him better than I, but I never knew him not to have a smile. He would always visit with me and have a story to tell. We are flying the flags at the courthouse at half-staff this week for our neighbors in Waller County in honor of Sheriff Smith. Our prayers are with his family and friends. As always, I ask you to pray for those who keep us safe and keep us free.”