Lemoore's police chief challenges incumbent for Kings District 3 supervisor's seat

District 3 Candidate Darrell Smith
District 3 Candidate Darrell Smith

As a service to our readers, we’ve asked various candidates for a variety of county-wide offices to respond to a set of what we believe are relevant questions. We think it is the public’s right to know the backgrounds and thoughts of those who intend to serve the citizens of Kings County and Lemoore.

Can you give me your full name and age and marital status, children?

Darrell L. Smith, 52, married with two daughters, Ryan, 24, and Kyle, 22,

Where are you from originally? Schools attended, including high school, college, post-graduate law degrees, etc.?

 I have lived in Kings County since the first grade. I attended Lemoore High School graduating in 1983. I attended West Hills College and College of the Sequoias, graduating number one overall in the Tulare/Kings Police Academy in 1990. I have attended Union Institute and California Coast University, both located in Southern California. I majored in Criminology and Administration of Justice. CA POST Management Graduate. 

Your career, including your jobs. How long have you been an elected official? Elected when, how many times, and where? Jobs you’ve held, other vocations.     

I began my professional career in 1990 with the Hanford Police Department as a patrol officer. I was promoted to corporal in 1992, a sergeant in 1994, a lieutenant in 2004, and captain in 2006. I was an Entry Team member, Entry Team leader, and commander of the Central Valley Regional Swat Team. I was assigned to oversee both the operations and support divisions of the Hanford Police Department and functioned as the acting police chief on several occasions. In 2012, I was assigned to the Kings County Narcotic Task Force as the commander of the unit. In November of 2013, I assumed the role of acting chief for the Lemoore Police Department, and in February 2014, I was appointed to the position of Lemoore Police Chief by a 5-0 vote of the Lemoore City Council. I am the advisory board chair of the Tulare/Kings Police Academy and serve as a board member of the Community Corrections Advisory Board.                    

Why are you running for the Kings County Board of Supervisors?

I have been a public servant for the past 28 plus years and believe there is no greater honor and satisfaction than that of public service. My career in law enforcement has been rewarding, and I believe that there is no higher calling, except for our armed forces than that of law enforcement. 

My experience in high-level leadership positions has prepared me to excel in the position of supervisor. I have a very strong work ethic, good people skills, and the ability to solve complex problems. I believe strong leadership, integrity, and a vision for the future of Kings County is what we need during these very challenging times. I value face-to-face communications and have had the opportunity to speak one on one to our residents to learn what their challenges are. 

I have an open-door policy and will always make myself available to my constituents. I will represent our Kings County with the highest of ethical and moral standards, for which every elected official should strive. My positions on issues will always be transparent, and I welcome public scrutiny as every point of view should be heard and considered before a decision is made. 

Achievements? Awards or honors?

Hanford City Employee of the Year 1991, Hanford Chamber of Commerce Public Safety Employee of the Year 2004, Lemoore Police Department- Lemoore Chamber of Commerce Organization of the Year 2017

What in your opinion are the major issues facing Kings County residents now and in the future? What must be done to ensure Kings County meets the demands of the next few years?

Continuing to provide our residents with high-quality services in the midst of financial difficulty resulting from the increased burden of mandates and decreased State and Federal funding. Our unemployment rate in the Central Valley hovers around 11%. This is unacceptable. Kings County’s economy is heavily reliant on the entire Agribusiness industry. Agribusiness accounts for the second highest number of jobs, second only to government in Kings County. 

In speaking directly with many farmers and local dairymen, water continues to be the highest concern for our County. Declining water allocations and the recent drought has resulted in groundwater overdraft and land subsidence. Proposition 1 was approved by voters to improve water delivery and expand water storage such as new reservoirs like the Temperance Flats project that would increase water storage by three times the capacity of Millerton Lake. State level bureaucracy as we know it has, for the time being, doomed this very worthy water storage project. 

The State Groundwater Management Act requires groundwater recharge in all GSA districts established in the State. This is a complex problem requiring a multi-pronged approach. By reallocating our existing water resources from our dedicated water allocations to farmland, instead of wasting it by sending to the sea, this will improve our groundwater aquifers. The Lower South Fork of the Kings River has only received water in 2017, and none the previous four years prior. This has negatively impacted the residents who live near the river as their ag, and domestic wells have dried up. Allowing water to run in its natural corridors recharges our aquifers and keeps the river alive! As one local farmer told me, and I completely agree, send us more water, and the jobs will follow. 

Increased farming and agribusiness activities lead to more jobs, and more importantly stimulates our local economies. For every dollar spent in Agribusiness, there is a $3.50 return investment into our local economy. Kings County needs to adopt a local water ordinance that will prohibit any water in Kings County from being exported out of our County. This is already being done in several Counties in the state, so a blueprint for a successful ordinance exists. 

Final thoughts?

I am honored to have the support and endorsements of every law enforcement public safety group in Kings County, as well as the endorsement of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association and the Peace Officer Research Association of California. The members of these Organizations understand the importance of having a public safety advocate at the Board of Supervisors level, and I will bring leadership, integrity, and credibility to the office. I also have the support and endorsements of many local farmers and farming operations in Kings County as they know I will lead the fight for more water! I want to thank all residents of District 3 for consideration of your vote to elect Smith for Supervisor, District 3. 


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