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Tom Smith - Enumclaw Chief of Police | Centennial

Centennial - Courtesy photo
Centennial
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Editor’s note: The following is a 1974 interview with Mrs. John Buck published in the Courier-Herald in 1974.

Question: Well, now, tell us about your uncle, Mr. Tom Smith?

Mrs. Buck: Well, he lived on the farm just south of our farm, but he wasn’t farm minded. He couldn’t care less about it and he worked many years in Seattle in the sheriff’s office.

He was deputy sheriff. In those days, transportation wasn’t very convenient and he would come out to Auburn on the old InterUrban and somebody would meet him or he would be fortunate to get a ride in a buggy with somebody else and he would come home about once a month, but my aunt and the family lived on the farm until about 1910 and then they moved to town, they bought a home in town, but her oldest son, my cousin Will, lived on the farm until – oh, I guess about five years ago it was that he moved to town.

They finally sold the farm and moved to town. But all those years he farmed it for the family and it was, I think, about the time that they moved to town was when my uncle came to Enumclaw and started a real estate business with a brother-in-law of his and then he eventually was the town marshal, and he was the town marshal!

Nobody could ever take his place.

He might reprimand them, but the next minute he’d have his hand on their shoulder telling them, “I’m telling you this for your own good,” and they really respected the man and I don’t think that ever anybody could take his place, because he held the confidence of the youth and we didn’t have near the vandalism then that we have now. I am not blaming the police, it’s no fault of theirs, but he was a wonderful man.

Question: Can you think of some particular instance that comes to mind?

Mrs. Buck: Well, I really can’t think of any one thing in particular, but I know one thing – that there was never a stranger that came to town that was here very many hours but that he knew who they were and what their business was in the town.

And I remember there was an article in some magazine about there was a bank robbery down in Orting and they had sent word to look out for these men and somebody said, “Well, if he’s in the vicinity, Tom Smith will get him!” And Tom Smith got him! I don’t know how, but he captured the man and different instances like that.

And he was also deputy sheriff. It was nothing for him to go way up in the mountains, you know, on the railroads, and bring somebody in and they always said he was just like the Northwest Mounted – he got his man. And he didn’t do any bragging about it. He was a very gentle man, but he did his duty.

My fond memory of him was how he managed to handle the young people and keep their confidence and yet he kept them in line. And I know one time of someone making a remark in front of the next Police Chief we had, “Well, if Tom Smith was here, that wouldn’t have happened!” And he said, “If I ever hear that again, I am going to throw them in jail! I am tired of hearing it!”

People did respect Tom Smith

An Interview with Mrs. John Buck (Iris Smith), Enumclaw, Washington

February 5, 1974.

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