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Annual wreath-laying ceremony enables Odessa police officer's memory to live on

Annual wreath-laying ceremony enables Odessa police officer’s memory to live on

He may be gone, but the memory and legacy of Officer Scott Stanton Smith lives on in a number of special ways.

Every year without fail, the Odessa Police Department pays tribute to the fallen hero. At sunrise on Feb. 6, 2023, officers participated in an annual wreath-laying ceremony at a plaque that permanently honors Smith at the Odessa Police Deparment Memorial, located on the front lawn of police headquarters.

The wreath was set to remain at the Memorial Statue until sundown and removed by the Honor Guard. The public was invited to come pay their respects throughout the day.

In 1987, Smith was involved in a motorcycle accident while responding to a burglary call, according to OPD. Two days after the accident, his wife learned she was pregnant with their second child. He spent six months on life support before he passed away on Feb. 6, 1988.

While Smith is remembered every year at OPD, there are other ways the late officer’s memory lives on.

In an interview last year, Smith’s mother Nancy Hall told OPD spokesperson Monica Quintero that if her son were alive, he would be very proud of his two beautiful daughters. He would also be “over the moon” about having two grandsons,” she said. Hall also noted how Smith’s second daughter, who was born after he died, “looks like him, acts like him, and has his personality.”

“The first time [the daughter] came to a memorial in Odessa, some of the police officers who knew Scott just stared at her because she looks so much like Scott,” Hall said.

Hall described her son as “very kind and very easy going,” adding that “he died doing what he loved to do.”

“I just appreciate everyone over there in Odessa,” she said.

Officer Smith’s memorial plaque is a permanent fixture at the OPD Memorial, which includes a statue of Saint Michael the Archangel as its centerpiece. The memorial was dedicated on Sept. 3, 2010. Other plaques at the Memorial memorialize Corporal John Scott Gardner, Corporal Arlie “Lee” Jones Jr., Corporal Abel Renteria Marquez and Corporal Gordon Terry Toal.