Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Jim Smith was remembered Tuesday as a man of faith and integrity.
Smith, 51, a 27-year-veteran of the Iowa State Patrol, was shot and killed April 9 during a standoff with Michael Thomas Lang, 41. Authorities have charged Lang, who remains hospitalized, with first-degree murder.
On Sunday, hundreds of people lined streets in Independence when the body of Smith, 51, was transported to the funeral home.
Visitation will be held from 3 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Reiff Family Center-Funeral Home and Crematory, 216 Third Ave. SE, in Independence.
Services will follow at 10 a.m. Friday in the gymnasium at Independence community High School, 1207 First St. W. in Independence.
Masks will be required for both the visitation and the funeral service.
A Cedar Rapids native, smith graduated from LaSalle High School in 1988, according to the obituary sent to The Gazette. He went on to study criminology at Kirkwood Community College and earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa in 1992.
Before joining the Iowa State Patrol, Smith worked as a security guard and later as a counselor at Four Oaks in Bertram, Iowa.
Smith and his wife, Kathryn J. Glanz, married in the summer of 1993. They had been married for 27 years and have two children, Zander and Jazlyn.
In December 1993, Smith graduated with the 19th Basic Department of Public Safety Academy and joined the state patrol. He was stationed with District 10 in Oelwein.
During his tenure with the patrol, Smith became a member of the Iowa State Patrol Tactical Team and served with the team for 26 years and led them for five.
“His team, brothers and sisters in blue, were a part of his family,” the obituary states.
Outside of the patrol, Smith is remembered as a man of faith who was a member of Jesup Bible Fellowship, where he served on the Elder board and delivered lessons to the congregation and youth groups. He also was a member of the praise team with which he played the drums.
“Jim’s devotion led him to spend time studying the Bible daily,” the obituary states.
Smith was also a family man who valued quality time with his loved ones.
“He made (his family) laugh every second of every day, and the memories of wheezing until their lungs hurt will be cherished forever,” the obituary reads.
“Jim will be greatly missed by everyone that knew him,” the obituary continues. “He was an upholder of justice, a loving husband and father, a comedian, a humble man of God, and a superhero. To this day, nobody has seen Batman and Jim in the same room.”
“This obituary does not fully describe our man of God,” the obituary adds. “Jim Smith lived his life with integrity and morality serving Jesus as his Lord and Savior – he was the ‘Real Deal!’ We are sure that when Jim met God in heaven, he heard a proud, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’”
Smith was killed during a standoff at a Grundy Center residence Friday night when he, three additional Iowa State Patrol Troopers and a Hardin County Sheriff’s Deputy K-9 unit breached the residence where Lang had barricaded himself.
Smith and the team entered the garage, according to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, and as they began to clear the upstairs rooms, Smith was shot.
The standoff, which lasted about five hours, started with a traffic stop at 7:22 p.m. and ended at about midnight when a team of highway patrol troopers in an armored personnel carrier smashed into the home. Lang fired multiple shots at the carrier. Three officers inside the carrier returned fire, hitting the man several times, authorities said.
Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens said Smith “died a hero” and “sacrificed himself protecting others.”
“We are hurting, we are angry,” Bayens said. “But rest assured we’re not broken. We will continue to shoulder the burdens of our communities while carrying our own. We will continue to stand in the gap of good and evil because, like Jim, that is what we are called to do.”
Smith is the 11th trooper to die in the line of duty in the agency’s 86-year history, according to the Associated Press. The last death was on Sept. 20, 2011, when Trooper Mark Toney died in a crash in Warren County as he tried to make a traffic stop.
Smith’s death also marks the third killing of a state employee within the criminal justice system in less than a month. Corrections Officer Robert McFarland and prison nurse Lorena Schulte were killed March 23 when, investigators said, two inmates tried to escape from the Anamosa State Penitentiary.
A memorial fund has been established in Smith’s name at BankIowa in Independence.
Those who wish to contribute to the fund can mail or drop off donations to the Iowa State Patrol Sergeant Jim Smith Memorial Fund at the BankIowa branch located at 230 1st Street East in Independence, or at any BankIowa branch in Independence.
The family intends to establish a memorial scholarship in remembrance of Smith, according to the Iowa Department of Public Safety.
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