Over the past several months there’s been an increasing amount of tragedies occurring in various states. It’s become such a daily routine in the media to witness grieving families, national protests and angry citizens combined with race wars that have divided relationships between the community and law enforcement. However, while we all have varied opinions, the fact remains hate does not cure hate, and perhaps there should be a shift in portrayals of positive images with some individuals working in law enforcement who should be highlighted and celebrated.
Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Dwan Smith knew as a teenager her career would lead on a path to serve and protect. While attending Milford Mill Academy, Ms. Smith served as Commander of the ROTC Program, the highest ranking role which she showcased natural leadership skills. In addition, Ms. Smith was also Commander of the Honor Guard Team where she and her peers traveled and competed in various states. “One thing I was taught, which always stuck with me, was ‘Always give a firm handshake and look a person straight in the eyes upon meeting them.’ I’ll never forget that.”
Upon graduating High School in 1999 without the option to attend college due to family finances, Ms. Smith, she eagerly followed her first passion and enlisted in the US Army where she proudly served her country for four years until she was honorably discharged. It was a very noble and courageous decision to take on such a responsibility of serving ones country with no guarantee of returning home. However, as a higher power saw fit, it was during Ms. Smith tenure in the military where she was blessed with her daughter, Arielle who just a short few months after birth had to undergo a heart surgery procedure which she survived and grew to become a lively and gifted teenager. “Arielle is a miracle child, and as I call her my angel. She’s a fighter, so lovable and the reason I grew a closer relationship to God and became more knowledgeable of the different events happening around the world. I am her role model, therefore, I have to make decisions that’s best for her and be more conscience of my own actions.”
Upon returning to Maryland after service in the US Army, Ms. Smith continued along the path to protect with a nationally accredited law-enforcement agency where she is currently employed. “In law enforcement, we see the worst of what’s going on in the world. It’s not like we’re getting called to locations because situations are great, it’s normally the opposite.” One who takes her role very seriously, Ms. Smith is the recipient of several “Life Saving” Awards for performing CPR procedures during various crisis situations.
When asked about the status of law enforcement in Baltimore City and the community (Ms. Smith is NOT a Baltimore City Police Officer) she replied, “All of these instances that are occurring is heartbreaking. Although the city may be different, what’s common is that behind every situation, whether an officer or community resident, a person’s life is involved.” However, Ms. Smith also confessed, “I don’t think it’s fair that all law enforcement should be looked at in a bad light. I am a human being and mother who’s concerned about the safety of my daughter as well as my own when I depart my home each day.”
However, Ms. Smith was eager to offer suggestions for more positive resolution. “The focus should be the youth, with more community involvement such as the 300 Men March to produce more positivity and leadership that offers hope for the future of our youth.” Adding, “Destroying your own community is never the answer. Over the years there’s been peaceful protesting that has done wonders in this world.” One who certainly leads by example, Ms. Smith volunteers monthly at the Baltimore Rescue Mission, an organization who serves homeless individuals throughout the city. “It may not mean much to some, but just seeing the smiles on the faces of the people I encounter is a humbling experience. I just enjoy being there.”
In addition to being an advocate for homelessness, Ms. Smith is a supporter of equal opportunities for the LGBT Community. “Usually when a person finds passion in a certain area, it stems from a series of events they have witnessed. The tragedy in Florida was an example of hate and discrimination. For me, being in a particular role to advocate is about growth, expanding knowledge and helping others receive fair treatment within the LGBT community.”
A pillar for positive change with great optimism about her future, Ms. Smith demonstrates just how to BE the CHANGE we wish to see in the world.