It was four months to the day that Lieutenant Clayton Smith of the Marco Island Police Department was fatally injured while riding his motor scooter home from running an errand on February 5th, 2020. Smith was passing through the intersection of Bald Eagle Drive and San Marco Road when a vehicle turned into him in the middle of the intersection.
The entire community was shocked when the news began to circulate around the island upon hearing of the senseless tragedy which took the life of the well-known and respected officer the next morning.
On July 5th, the community, fellow officers, and close friends came together to pay their respects to their friend with a fitting memorial in his name in one of the places he loved the most on the island.
He was a dedicated law enforcement professional, having served 25 years with the Springfield Township Police Department before moving to Marco Island. That agency was on the outskirts of Cincinnati, Ohio and they had 50 sworn officers. He was also a longstanding member of the Hamilton County Swat Team, in addition to being a certified law enforcement instructor in the State of Ohio.
After 25 years on the job in Ohio, Clayton packed up his family and moved south to join the Marco Police Department. All who came to know him would come away with great respect and admiration for the man. There wasn’t a task he wouldn’t take on, and none he wouldn’t give his 110% best effort.
On July 5th, many that did know Clayton Smith would come forward and speak to his dedication to the Marco community. City Councilor Charlotte Roman spoke fondly of Smith’s commitment to what she saw as the community’s greatest asset: the beach.
Others, such as former Police Chief Al Schettino and present Police Chief Tracy Frazzano also praised Smith for his work ethic and his integrity.
Smith’s love of the water and outdoor activities was evident from the day he arrived. Fishing was a true love of Clayton’s and his subsequent friendship with officers such as Bob Marvin, who had retired from the Collier County Marine Division and then became a marine officer for Marco. The two were a natural fit. The stories both could tell about their fishing exploits were legendary.
Both men assisted fellow officer Josh Ferris in his passion for raising money for the event “Crossing For A Cure.” That fundraiser would benefit the research being done to find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. Ferris has paddled from Bimini to Lake Worth, Florida for the last 3 years and has been assisted in the past by Marvin and Smith. Ferris would MC the event at the South Beach access point.
Former City Councilman Bob Brown also reflected on the friendship he shared with both Clayton and his wife Lisa and the character of the man he also came to call his friend. “Very fitting tribute given his love for the beach here on Marco,” Brown remarked.
The memorial bench for Lieutenant Smith was funded through the generous donations from the Bill and Karen Young, Jim and Allyson Richards, as well as Eric and Angela Segler.