Two months after police officers Nick Smarr and Jody Smith — former roommates and high school classmates — were killed in the line of duty, the University System of Georgia Board of Regents approved naming the building that houses Georgia Southwestern State University’s Public Safety Department in honor of them.
At its monthly meeting Tuesday in Atlanta, the board approved the proposal from GSW interim President Charles Patterson to name the facility the Nicholas Smarr and Jody Smith Memorial Building. The date of the naming ceremony wasn’t announced.
Smarr, 25, was an Americus police officer, and Smith, 26, was a GSW police officer, when Minguell Kennedy Lembrick, 32, shot and killed them at an Americus apartment complex. The manhunt ended the next day, when authorities found Lembrick dead from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Smith and Smarr graduated together from the police academy at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.
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In GSW’s news release, Patterson called them “great officers, dedicated members of our community and the best of friends. We are grateful to the families of Jody and Nick and to the Americus Police Department for allowing us to honor them in this way.”
GSW public safety director Mike Tracy said in the release, “The dedication of our building to our fine young fallen officers is an honor to our. Both of these men, at a young age, dedicated themselves to a profession of public service. This naming event gives special honor to Nick and Jody and highlights Georgia Southwestern’s continuing partnership with the citizens of Americus, the Americus Police Department and the City of Americus.”
Americus Police Chief Mark Scott called Smarr and Smith “outstanding police officers and great human beings.”
“They will always be remembered for the sacrifice they made in the name of the profession they both loved, but more importantly, they will always be remembered as beloved sons and brothers, friends and comrades,” Scott said in the release. “We thank the Georgia Southwestern State University community for choosing to honor Nick and Jody’s legacies by naming the public safety building after them.”