Wife of fallen police officer grateful to Columbus

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The Columbus Division of Police held a candlelight memorial ceremony Thursday evening to honor the 56 officers who lost their lives in the line of duty. The ceremony was held at Genoa Park along the Scioto River, where a memorial walls bears the name of every officer ever killed while protecting and serving, dating back to the 1800s. As each officer's name was read, a blue candle, symbolic of the blue line, was lit in their memory.

The most recent name etched in granite is SWAT Officer Steven Smith. He was shot and killed in 2016 while trying to arrest a man wanted for setting his estranged wife's home on fire. For the first time, Officer Smith's widow, Lisa, shared the pain of her family's loss.

"He is the first thing I think of every morning, and he's the last thing I think of every night. I wish that he was here with me all the time," said Lisa Smith.

SWAT Sergeant Joe Pedolski said if he learned anything from Officer Smith, it's that you never stop training and you never stop learning.

"After all these years, I've learned that I have to earn this every day.," said Sgt. Podolski tapping his badge.

The memorial ceremony included a rifle salute, the playing of taps, and the traditional riderless horse. A police chopper flew overhead in honor of Steve Smith who also served as a pilot for the Division.
Lisa Smith said she can't express how proud she is of her husband.

"He loved his job, but he also loved his family. And was able to juggle it all," said Smith. She also expressed her gratitude to the city of Columbus.

"Columbus is wonderful. I'm so glad Columbus is our city. I've definitely felt the love and support continuously."

Soon, Jesse Smith will follow in his father's footsteps. He is expected to graduate from the Columbus Police Academy in July.

"The amount of support we got from Columbus, it was a no-brainer. There was no way I was going to change my mind, said Smith.

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