Sheriff names chief deputy |

Sheriff names chief deputy

As the Summit County sherrif-elect, Justin Martinez was given the freedom to choose who he wanted to name as chief deputy, the No. 2 position in the office.

Prior to his Jan. 5 swearing in, Martinez essentially held the same position for former Sheriff Dave Edmunds.

Martinez selected retired Drug Enforcement Administration special agent Frank Smith for the position. Smith was sworn in on Tuesday.

"He’s the person I have tapped to come help me," Martinez said. "He will complement me and my ideas extremely well and enable me to have someone here at the office that I can rely on."

The chief deputy in the Sheriff’s Office is primarily responsible for the day-to-day operations.

"Frank is so level headed and he brings a wealth of experience from county and federal government to this position," Martinez said. "I won’t be able to do everything all the time. But for someone who has those experiences, he can help me, guide me and provide some insight."

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Originally from South Carolina, Smith worked as a sheriff’s deputy before taking a position with the DEA. For more than 25 years, he worked as the assistant special agent in charge of Utah. He met Edmunds and Martinez through the position. He retired from the DEA in 2014.

"Justin’s vision, when he explained it to me, is exactly what I thought law enforcement at the local level should be doing," Smith said. "It was an easy transformation for me and a very exciting one."

During his campaign, Martinez said he wants the Sheriff’s Office to take a more holistic approach to law enforcement, with the focus on the community at large. That appealed to Smith.

While working for the DEA, Smith’s position impacted groups on a seemingly large scale, but Smith said he never felt like he really impacted the community he lived in.

"When you work for the DEA, it is a very global picture and you are doing all these things that impact all these cartels," Smith said. "To impact where we live and to make a difference, that’s epic for us and I feel blessed and privileged to have the opportunity to be here."

Smith has lived in Summit County for more than a year. He said he enjoys the outdoors and skiing. He understands the fabric of the community, he said.

When Martinez approached him about the position, it was "really a compliment," he said.

"That means someone respected you as a professional," Smith said. "Justin and I knew each other from a professional level, but when someone who is your friend has that kind of respect for you, it really makes you feel good.

"And I think that’s what has made my transition so easy," he added.

Moving forward, the pair says the staff at the Sheriff’s Office is "buying into" the vision Martinez has presented, especially Smith.

"The average citizens in Summit County are wonderful, wonderful people. Let’s treat them like that," Smith said. "Being in law enforcement allows you to look at things from a different angle and I look forward to becoming an integral part of the community."