After a career that has spanned parts of five decades, Whitpain Police Chief Mark Smith has announced plans to retire late this spring. Chief Smith was born and raised in the Broad Axe section of Whitpain and attended Blue Bell Elementary School, Shady Grove Junior High School (which later became the elementary school), and Chestnut Hill Academy.
Needless to say, he has seen a great deal of change in the Township throughout the years. “As a child, I used to play ice hockey on the frozen ponds behind what is now the Manor House at Prophecy Creek,” recounts Chief Smith. He was always active in the community as a child, volunteering his time as an Ambler Ambulance junior member and then as a member of the Wissahickon Fire Company. Surprisingly, policing wasn’t his initial career choice.
“When I was 12 years old, I had my first job at Steinbach Veterinary Hospital, and I wanted to be a veterinarian more than anything,” said Smith. “It wasn’t until one of the assistant coaches on my high school football team, who was a Philadelphia cop, got me interested in a career in law enforcement.” During the summer of his junior year
, he completed an internship with the Whitpain Township Police Department.
Smith joined the police force as a 21 year old rookie back in 1979 after graduating from Kings College in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Throughout his 36-year career at Whitpain, Smith held nearly every position in the Police Department. However, he always enjoyed working with children and taught in the D.A.R.E program for 10 years educating children on the dangers of substance abuse.
Along with his responsibilities within the Whitpain Township Police Department, Smith was assigned to the regional Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team in 1985, eventually becoming the Chief’s Liaison for the Montgomery County SWAT team. Other accomplishments include his two year assignment to the Montgomery County Narcotics Enforcement Team in 1988 and his graduation from the 202nd session of the FBI National Academy in 2000. Chief Smith will be missed, but we wish him the best in his retirement.