Henry "Bud" Smith, a retired Sacramento County sheriff's deputy who served in an early community-oriented policing program, died Friday of complications related to cancer and other ailments, his family said. He was 68.
Mr. Smith joined the Sheriff's Department in 1970 after five years as an Army paratrooper. His impeccable military appearance in spit-shined boots and a creased uniform caught the attention of sheriff's officials, who assigned him in 1974 to a new unit created to experiment with community-oriented policing in Rancho Cordova.
"Bud was a free-spirit kind of guy whom people gravitated toward," said his brother, Chet, a retired sheriff's lieutenant. "If he was dealing with a minor victimless crime, he'd hunker down with the people involved and try to resolve things without making an arrest."
Mr. Smith later was assigned to the detective division. He worked undercover with a heroin-impact team and spent seven years on a narcotics task force. A back injury led him to retire on disability in 1984.
A Sacramento native, Henry Cline Smith was born Nov. 27, 1943, to Ramona and Chester Smith. His father was a reserve deputy sheriff, and his mother was a federal civil servant.
He attended San Juan High School and earned a general equivalency diploma in the Army. He served with the 187th Infantry Division of the 101st Airborne Division and spent tours in South Korea and Panama. His marriage to the former Jane Hicks ended in divorce.
In later years, Mr. Smith practiced his self-taught skills in art as a painter and sculptor. He carved terra-cotta brick murals and sold many works to private collectors.
Besides his brother and mother, survivors include his daughter, Erin; three grandchildren; and one great-grandson.
A service is set for 3 p.m. today at Lind Brothers Funeral Home, 4221 Manzanita Ave., Carmichael.
Donations in memory of Mr. Smith may be made to the Bruce Verhoeven Foundation at www.verhoevenfoundation.org.
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