Patrol Officer Casey Smith is becoming well-adjusted to his new role as Decorah's newest and youngest police officer.
A Decorah native, Smith graduated from Decorah High School in 2011 and interned with the Decorah Police Department while seeking a degree in Criminal Justice from Waldorf College in Forest City. Smith attended the Police Academy last spring before being sworn into the Decorah Police Department last September.
For Smith, it has been an interesting transition to police the streets that he used to walk on as a resident.
"Until you get on the other side, you don't get to see just how much actually goes on," Smith said. "There is a lot of stuff happening around Decorah throughout the day and night that people just aren't aware of."
Despite the transition to policing, Smith admits that there are still times where he remembers what it is like to be on the other side of law enforcement.
"You know, whenever I am out driving, just in my own car, and I see the police, I still hit the brakes a little bit," Smith said. "But it's part of the transition."
Under his own admission, there are still aspects of policing that Smith could improve upon.
"I feel like I should probably give out more tickets," Smith said. "I am pretty lenient when it comes to handing them out."
Ultimately, Smith said he feels comfortable in his position, a feeling that comes from a confidence in the department and its relationship to the Decorah community.
"You know, we have a great relationship with this community. All the men and women in this department are great, and we'd all have each other's backs. I feel totally confident following any of our guys into whatever the situation may be."
Smith said that he is happy in his role within the Decorah Police Department and is excited to grow as a police officer within this community.
"It could be cool to go police in a bigger city," Smith said. "But honestly I wouldn't want to give up what I have here, because Decorah and this department are pretty special."