Lorie Smith Named New Garner Police Chief

GARNER – Lorie Smith has been selected to become the next chief of the Garner Police Department.   

When she is sworn in at the Dec. 21 Town Council meeting, she will become the department’s first female chief. She has been a captain in the department since 2017 and has been serving in the role of interim chief since Oct. 1 following the retirement of previous chief Joe Binns.  

“It is my honor to appoint Lorie Smith as the next police chief of Garner,” Town Manager Rodney Dickerson said. “Lorie has a wealth of knowledge about the department and the community. During her 24 years with the department, she has been responsible for a broad array of duties that have made her extremely well-prepared to be chief.”  

Smith said she is excited to be able to serve as chief in her hometown.  

“It is an honor and privilege to serve in the community where I grew up and have lived and worked most of my life,” she said. “The overwhelming support from the community, Police Department and Town staff these past few months has been very humbling.”  

Smith joined the Police Department in 1997 as a member of the Patrol Division and was promoted to sergeant in 2004. She became the first sworn female member of the Police Department’s command staff when she was promoted to lieutenant in 2015.  

As lieutenant, Smith commanded the Criminal Investigations Division until her promotion to captain. She led the Administration Bureau through 2020, serving as the department’s backup public information officer (PIO), primary internal affairs investigator and administrator overseeing the department’s $8 million annual budget.  

Before her appointment as interim chief, Smith led the department’s Operations Bureau with oversight of the Patrol, Support Services and Criminal Investigations Divisions. She was also the department’s primary PIO.  

During her career with the Police Department, Smith has been a field training officer, general instructor, Crisis Intervention Team officer, negotiator, team leader and team commander for the department’s Crisis Negotiations Team.  

Smith said she would like to serve as an example to other women both inside her department and also in the larger community.  

“Being the first female police chief is a huge accomplishment, but it will have little meaning if I don’t lead the way for other women to follow,” Smith said. “I hope that my leadership and achievement will serve as an inspiration to other women within the Garner Police Department to seek promotional opportunities and for women in the Garner community to consider careers in law enforcement.”  

Smith graduated from N.C. State University in 1996 with a bachelor of arts degree in sociology with a concentration in criminal justice. She received her master’s degree in justice administration from Methodist University in May 2015 and is a 2018 graduate of the FBI National Academy (session #273) in Quantico, Va.  

Smith also is a 2013 graduate of the year-long Management Development Program (session #25) through the N.C. Justice Academy, a 2014 graduate of the Administrative Management Officers Program (session #69) through N.C. State University and a 2014 graduate of the West Point Leadership Program through Methodist University.  

Smith is active in the community as well. She has served as a board member of the North Carolina Victim’s Assistance Network from 2016 through 2021, with her most recent appointment as board vice president. She has been a member of the Garner Educational Foundation since 2015, currently serving as the Scholarship Committee chair, and has volunteered with the Schools and Community Organized to Read (SCOR) program at Timber Drive Elementary.  

In addition, Smith has been an active volunteer with the Police Department’s Police Athletics and Activities League (PAAL) since its inception and has served as a PAAL coordinator at Rand Road and East Garner Elementary Schools.   

“Lorie loves Garner, as is evident to everyone who knows her. She is dedicated to the Town and to the residents and businesses that we all serve,” Town Manager Dickerson said.  

“There is no better place to work than in my hometown, and I am proud to serve and be part of such an amazing community,” Smith said.