Faces of The Force: A confident and Effective Young Officer
Tiffany Smith credits natural curiosity for the love of her job.
“You never know what to expect each day,” said Smith, a First District Uniform Patrol Officer. “From one call to the next, it’s like opening a box.”
A desire to help others shaped her interest in becoming a police officer. As a child in Bossier City, she used to donate toys to pediatric patients at a Shreveport hospital.
She decided police work was the best way to help others, and she never looked back. She moved to Baton Rouge in 2013 to study criminal justice and psychology at Southern University but liked the city and decided to stay.
“It was something in my heart that I wanted to do,” said Smith, now 26.
Smith is flourishing on the force. In just three years on the job, she was the primary officer on 815 calls for service between January 1, 2020, and mid-March of 2021. She also made at least 105 total arrests, issued more than 90 traffic citations, and seized seven guns off the streets of Baton Rouge over the 15-month period.
“Looking at her stats, you might get the impression that these numbers represent the work of two or three officers,” said Lt. William Clarida, Uniform Patrol Commander. “She’s proving to be a leader on her squad and in the Department.”
Seizing illegal narcotics also gratifies Smith because she understands its bigger community impact.
“Getting drugs off the streets protects the streets,” she said.
Her work in 2020 included taking the initiative to arrest a domestic-violence suspect after reports that he was threatening the victim with a firearm. Police detectives located the weapon at the residence, despite the victim being too fearful to discuss the gun.
“My concern was for her safety,” Smith said.
She also helped sheriff’s deputies pursue and stop a suspect who fled in his car with a large amount of cash and narcotics.
Those and other actions have prompted multiple letters of commendation written by her supervisors.
“She’s an extremely dedicated and valuable officer,” Lt. Clarida said.
Smith knows how to relax, too. She enjoys reading, swimming, drawing, and painting in her off-hours. Cooking is another interest. Mexican cuisine—enchiladas covered in sauce especially—is a favorite, but Smith will try almost any recipe. Working out is another pastime.
Staying healthy during the pandemic was a focus when Smith like other officers wore masks and other personal protective gear on the job. Breathing techniques and a process she uses to calm herself after a high-stress situation were helpful in a year of unprecedented challenge.
“I have a way of making myself handle stress well,” Smith said.