ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Thousands gathered at Mount Olive Baptist Church for the funeral service for fallen Arlington Police Officer Jillian Smith. The sanctuary at Mount Olive holds 3200 people and it was not large enough to hold the crowd of mourners attending the funeral.
Officer Smith was shot and killed on December 28 while trying to protect an 11-year-old child during a domestic disturbance call and subsequent shooting at an apartment complex.
Today the 24-year-old woman, who was just two weeks out of field training when she was killed, was remembered as a saint and a hero. During the eulogy, Pastor James Thompson Jr. said Jillian was more than a police officer, she was a saint in the eyes of God. “You hate to see her go, but she had somewhere to go in heaven,” he told the congregation. “When you leave here Jesus said, ‘Come on up here. I got a place where they don’t carry .357 Magnums. Come on up here!'”
Police Chaplain Wes Duffy remembered the dedication Officer Smith had to a job she held only a short time. “When we have officers, like Jill, who work in the midnight hour, while we sleep and slumber, they stand prepared, ready to fight, to share their life for us,” he said during the service.
Many tears were shed as family members, friends and uniformed officers passed by the flag-draped coffin of Officer Smith.
Uniformed police officers, constables, deputies and troopers from across Texas, the region, and from as far away as Chicago filled the pews, stood in the lobby and listened to the service in the church gymnasium over a public address system. A long line of police cruisers and motorcycles led the procession to the church.
Following the funeral, the long line of law enforcement officials followed the hearse carrying Officer Smith’s body to Moore Memorial Gardens for a graveside ceremony.
Born in Arlington, Jillian Smith became interested in law enforcement during the sixth grade, department officials said. She graduated from Seguin High School in 2005 and the University of Texas at Arlington in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and a minor in Sociology. Officer Smith then graduated from the Arlington Police Academy in February of 2010 and completed her field training on December 13.
In the history of the Arlington police department, Officer Smith is the 8th officer to die in the line of duty.