Class: 1937Inducted: 2003
After graduation from Asbury Park High School, Thomas S. Smith, Sr. went on to Howard University as well as Rutgers University, Trenton State College, FBI Schools, and the Monmouth County Police Academy. He then went on to serve in the U.s. Army European Theater where he received five battle stars. During his career he worked in various levels of the Asbury Park Police Department. Starting in 1941, he rose through the ranks from the Detective Bureau to Sergeant, Captain, and Acting Police Chief. The proudest moment with the force was when he was named Chief of Police in 1968, making him the first African-American Police Chief in Asbury Park. He retired from the police department in 1979.
Mr. Smith, Sr. was elected to the City Council of Asbury Park in 1986, becoming Mayor on July 1, 1989. He was elected Assemblyman of the 11th Legislative District in 1991. He served on many committees within the General Assembly and was in Leadership serving as Deputy Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly. He was also a member of the Law and Public Safety Committee, Assembly Senior Issues and Community Services, Martin Luther King Commission, Vice Chairman Juvenile Violence Task Force, Advisor and Honorary chairman on the African American Advisory Council. He sponsored legislation formulating Urban Enterprise Zones, Anti-Discrimination in awarding of State Contracts, penalties for those convicted of burning a place of Worship, and provided funding for dredging of lakes. He also sponsored legislation that provided educational services for adult and juvenile inmates serving sentences in State Correction Facilities providing occupational training for "At-Risk Youth".
Thomas S. Smith, Sr. was the recipient of numerous awards, including Police Chief of the Year - 1974, Gold and Silver Life cards from the PBA, recognition by the Monmouth County Boy Scouts of America, Central Jersey Business and the Professional Club.
Personal quotation; "Treat everyone with dignity and respect."