Beloved Vidalia Police Officer, once oldest rookie cop, dies

Published 8:45 pm Monday, May 29, 2023

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VIDALIA, La. — Vidalia Police Department and many in the community are mourning the loss of a longtime Vidalia police officer who died Monday.

Lt. Huston “Smokey” White celebrated his 80th birthday in October 2022 and was still actively working at Vidalia Police Department.

Vidalia Mayor Buz Craft said he started working at VPD later in life after he retired from Entergy in his late 60s.

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He entered the Alexandria Police Academy in 2008 at the age of 66 and soon became one of the oldest officers on record to complete the academy, no small feat as the Alexandria academy is known for its rigorous physical training.

“Smokey was a beloved person in Vidalia,” Craft said. “He was such a sweet man and such a good man and was always kind and friendly. If you knew him, you loved him. On a day like today, Memorial Day, when we think of all our fallen heroes who worked to keep the freedoms we have, he did the same. He’s a hero in my eye. … Our hearts are heavy. He was a great asset.”

Captain Craig Godbold of VPD said White was unique as an officer and as an individual.

Godbold said when he came to VPD seven years ago, White was a “street cop,” or a patrol officer and graduated to investigator just last year.

“You didn’t have to guess what his thoughts were because he would tell you what he was thinking and he didn’t sugarcoat it,” Godbold said. “He was honest in everything he did. He was a good policeman and he could work circles around any young officer. He passed the police academy at 66, and it was difficult. That includes PT and running every day. He was a good man and a good friend, and we’re going to miss him. … He’d do anything for you. This one is going to hurt for a while.”

This story will be updated when more information becomes available.