Officer’s Death Gives Life to UTA Endowment

Jillian Michele Smith Professorship to boost family violence studies

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Arlington Police Department
    Officer Jillian Smith

    Commentary
    by Bruce Felps

    Arlington police Officer Jillian Smith did not die in vain while protecting a little girl during a domestic violence call.

    In addition to whatever good works her one-time colleagues and surviving family members might have done in her name, the University of Texas at Arlington recently added to the list.

    Readers might remember Smith — a UTA grad cum laude and criminology major — for her bravery and heroism — heroine-ism?— during that December 2010 domestic violence call. She stepped between a gunman and that little girl and took the bullet that took her life.

    Now, because of a $125,000 grant from the UT Arlington School of Social Work Advisory Council, doubled by Maverick Match, the school created an endowed professorship — called the Jillian Michele Smith Professorship in Family Violence Research — to study … well, the name pretty much says it all.

    According to the official press release, “Social Work Professor Beverly Black, who joined the University in 2008, has been named the professorship's first recipient.”

    The release also quoted the fallen officer’s father, Doug Smith.

    "If my daughter were here, she would be very pleased," he said. "Anything positive that results — for example, better training for police officers responding to family violence calls — would be good."

    There’s your understatement for the day.

    Bruce Felps owns and operates East Dallas Times, an online community news outlet serving the White Rock Lake area. He hopes for a day when violence is just a nasty history lesson. Dreamer.

    The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of NBC, NBC 5, NBCDFW.com or its employees.