Slain officer dreamed of being cop since childhood
ARLINGTON — A rookie police officer who was killed after responding to a domestic violence call was remembered Thursday as dedicated, outgoing and always excited about her job — one she had dreamed about since the sixth grade.
Officer Jillian Michelle Smith, 24, was shot to death Tuesday night trying to protect an 11-year-old girl from her mother's ex-boyfriend, who also killed the woman before killing himself, Arlington police said.
"It doesn't surprise me that she would do what she did," Smith's uncle, Ronald Haney, said Thursday at a news conference outside an Arlington police station, where flags flew at half-staff. "(She's) just a hero in my mind."
Smith first became interested in law enforcement as a sixth-grader when she participated in an anti-drug program for public school children.
She graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a criminology degree in 2009. Smith stood out among the 600 students in the criminology department because she was diligent, charismatic and wanted to help others, department chairman Alex del Carmen told The Dallas Morning News.