Gene Paul N Smith has been with the agency for 26 years. He has served numerous tours in all three divisions, including Detective Division Commander, Patrol Division Commander, and Services Division Commander. He was on the SWAT team for 24 years, serving in the role of SWAT commander from 1999 to 2019. He has worked in almost every capacity for the department, including patrol officer, field training officer, school resource officer, patrol corporal, internal investigator, detective/special investigations sergeant, and as a member of the command staff.
Chief Smith has successfully planned and supervised dozens of large special events to include the Air, Land, and Sea Spectacular, the 26.2 with Donna, Super Bowl XXXIX in the downtown area, and other special events which attracted tens of thousands of visitors to the city. He served as the Operations Section Chief and Incident Commander during several tropical storms/hurricanes, including Matthew and Irma. He has served as the department's budget officer, grant coordinator, and as the Detective Division Commander who oversaw and participated in the successful investigation and conclusion of numerous homicides.
He has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of North Florida and a Master of Arts Degree in Management from Webster University. He is a graduate of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Senior Leadership Program and is an FDLE-certified criminal justice instructor. Commander Smith has completed numerous basic and advanced training courses including the train-the-trainer course for ICS 300/400 sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security. He is a graduate of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service Protective Services Operations Training Program (NCIS-PSOTP), highlighting executive/VIP protection. He is also an instructor at the Institute of Police Technology and Management, delivering command, tactical, and narcotics-related topics.
He is familiar with the challenges of policing a beach community that attracts crowds that are many times the city's base population. He possesses a deep institutional knowledge of Jacksonville Beach Police Department and City of Jacksonville Beach operations.
Chief Smith is the plank holder and creator of the highly successful Special Investigations Unit. He has extensive experience in police special operations, including narcotics enforcement, prostitution enforcement, criminal transient enforcement, undercover operations, criminal asset forfeiture, and community-oriented policing strategy involving special problems.
He has resided in the city for over 20 years and is married to his wife, Gail. He has two adult sons, ages 24 and 21, one an engineer/firefighter with the Columbia County (Florida) Fire Department, and the other a deputy sheriff with the Jacksonville (Florida) Sheriff's Office.