LIBERTY TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – Retired Liberty Police Officer James Smith passed away this week after a battle with cancer.

Just last month, Liberty Police and members of the community took part in a parade for Smith to show him their support.

He served Liberty Township as a police officer for 25 years before he retired in 2017. He also became the department’s first police K-9 handler in 1993.

“Officer Smith was instrumental in creating our K-9 program, the first that this department has ever had, and getting policy made throughout the state of Ohio that K-9 officers are able to purchase their dogs after five years,” said Liberty police Chief Toby Meloro.

Smith was 59 at the time of his death.