- Local News
--By Staff Writer on --
CUMMING — Lt. Col. DT Smith, a write-in candidate for Forsyth County Sheriff, challenged his opponent to a debate during a press conference on the steps of the Forsyth County Administration Building Thursday.
“I respect my opponent,” Smith said. “We worked together on the SWAT team. I also respect the citizens of Forsyth County and that’s why I am taking this opportunity to challenge him to a debate so voters will have a chance to see us both in person, ask us questions and hear about our vision for the sheriff’s office.”
After the press conference, Smith said he was hopeful the Forsyth County Tea Party or Tea Party Alliance would sponsor the debate.
Smith’s opponent, former Forsyth County Sheriff’s Lt. Duane Piper, narrowly defeated incumbent Sheriff Ted Paxton in the July 31 primary election.
Smith said by not entering the primary, he was keeping a promise he made to Paxton in 2000. Smith lost to Paxton in the election that year and was later hired by Paxton with the promise he would not campaign against him in the future.
Smith kept that promise for 12 years, but when Paxton lost by about 300 votes, Smith saw an opportunity to realize his lifelong dream of becoming sheriff.
A 35-year law enforcement veteran, Smith spent 23 of those years in the trenches as police officer, deputy sheriff, and first line supervisor. He aso spent 12 years on the command staff in an executive position.
Two years ago, he was promoted to Director of Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office Headquarters Bureau.
Smith and his wife Kim have been married 17 years and have been parents and foster parents to 25 children.
“What a journey it has been,” Smith said. “We have been challenged but the rewards were amazing. All of the children to come through our home have been special and we feel truly blessed. I knew I was helping these children by opening up my home, but what I didn’t realize at the time is they were helping me become a better husband and father.”