History of Service in the Nashville community

"I come from a proud family that has been involved with public service for as long as I can remember. I want to work for you."


History of service in the Nashville community


Big John was born here in Nashville and his roots run deep. His family history is ingrained with service to the community as far back as 1948. Most of this service is in law enforcement.

His Granddad John Smith Jr. was one of the first blacks to become a policeman in this city. His father John W. Smith III followed in his fathers footsteps in 1964. Three decades later Big John became a deputy sheriff.


If you cut on the news today or listen to public sentiment, law enforcement is evil; that is unfortunate. In his grandfather’s time when Nashville was racially segregated, people came to his granddad for help. Whether it was to free a family member incarcerated or put in a word for a Job, John Smith was the man to go to. Big John can remember historic political figures such as Harold Love senior sitting in the living room of the family house discussing the issues of north Nashville.


Big John's father inherited much of the same respect and was an inspiration to others, not only from black's, but from whites as well; because he looked at a man's heart in dealing with folks. He helped change the lives for the good of many by being an example.

It's been 38 years since his passing, people still express their gratitude. Big John said, "sometimes hearing this would make him break down and cry, because he misses his father." His Dad was killed in the line of duty in the process of answering a call.


Big John Said, "Friends, working in law enforcement is not easy. You have to have the strength and fortitude to do difficult things, things that could be unpopular, or to the public appear heartless. But that's the life I've chosen. I know sometimes the public may never see the good of our service. But many times what keeps me going is what the public doesn't see. For instance, being the one who is there for a citizen who's heart is so heavy and need a shoulder to cry on...or just listen too, or when the opportunity opens up to talk to our young men and women; to hopefully change their life's direction away from self-destruction. And maybe...be stopped by a young man who says, "officer can you tie my tie, I'm on my way to a job interview?"

I hope in my heart that I'm an example and helpful to the community like these men were before me.

You know, it's ironic that I work in the same area as my fathers. This community is my home."


  • Big John Smith For TN
  • Big John Smith For Tn