LMPD :: Louisville Metro Police Department

New Oldham County police chief Greg Smith wants to work with community

Examine traffic routing


As a police chief in Louisville, Greg Smith organized a group of ministers who worked to improve the relationship between officers and the public.

"That actually turned out to be a tremendous program," said Tracy Schiller, a former officer who worked for Smith.

Smith "went a long way to personally make an effort to contact individuals, meet them face to face," he said.

As the newest police chief for Oldham County, Smith will bring that community-minded spirit with him, Schiller said.

Smith, 59, started the job Jan. 3, replacing Michael Griffin, who retired in September.

Smith was Louisville's police chief for 2½ years and retired from the force in 2002 to join U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning's staff.

When choosing a new chief, Judge-Executive David Voegele said he considered 12 people, and Smith had not only experience but glowing recommendations.

"I couldn't find anyone who didn't hold him in the highest regard," Voegele said.

Oldham County Police Lt. Tim Wakefield said some officers in the 31-member department also researched Smith, and "by all indications, everyone who ever worked for him liked him a lot."

He said he thinks Smith will "fit in well."

After his first week on the job, Smith was living up to his reputation, filling his schedule with face-to-face meetings with officials, officers and the community.

"I'm a big believer in working with the community," said Smith. "Whenever there's a community meeting, I feel like we need to be there."

He said Oldham is small enough that most people recognize some of the officers. Still, more can be done to make them visible.

"It doesn't hurt to go into businesses and say hello, leave a card," he said. "They do a lot of that already."

And Smith learned early on one major task he wants to tackle: The havoc a wreck on Interstate 71 causes the county.

"It's amazing how quickly I-71 will back up," he said. "It's a serious problem out there."

Smith said he wants to look at the way traffic is routed after an accident and see if there's a way to keep heavy traffic off roads that weren't built to handle it.

As for his other goals, Smith said he's not one to rush into changes. He prefers to talk with people and listen to their concerns - something he has experience in after working for Bunning.

"I'm going to go slow; I'm going to be thorough," he said.

Smith teaches a criminal justice class at Bellarmine University, and in his spare time he works out, reads history books and National Geographic and watches sports.

He declined to specify his preference between the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky.

"I'm a sports fan," he said with a laugh. "I like it all."