“We are delighted to have Brian with us,” said Scott Kanovos, a Cleveland attorney.
“It’s like getting a great deal on a used car. He has the breadth and experience we desperately need. Lawyers rarely win cases in court — facts win cases,” he said.
That is where Smith’s knowledge and experience will come into play for the firm of Kanovos, Chancey, Love and Painter.
Smith is also a member of the Bradley County Commission and works as chairman of the Law Enforcement Committee.
He began his law enforcement career when he was 20 years old in September 1980.
Robert Lawson was the sheriff and Dan Gilley, who is also a former sheriff and now looking to retire soon from the Tennessee Department of Homeland Security, was Lawson’s Chief Deputy.
After spending two years at the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, Smith went to the Cleveland Police Department under Chief Arnold Botts and Mitchell Lyle who was the police commissioner at the time.
Smith spent several years in the Patrol Division and Traffic Division at CPD.
He eventually went into investigations where things got “a little more exciting at times,” he said.
As a member of the Special Investigations Division (Narcotics Investigation), Smith said one of his most memorable cases was a bust of LSD and marijuana which had made its way into Cleveland.
“We had a tractor-trailer deliver the drugs right to us,” Smith said.
Five-hundred pounds of pot were seized during the operation.
Other memorable cases include the Drew Kirkman/Elka Fallis murders of Tracey Clayton and Daniel Goldston.
The double-homicide was a twisted and tangled web of players who were running an alleged check cashing scheme in Cleveland.
Goldston’s and Clayton’s bodies had been found shot, beaten and slashed.
Smith remembered collecting evidence from a waste disposal bin at Fallis’ apartment, located in the downtown area.
“It was cold morning around 2 a.m. or so. Myself, Robert Harbison and Gary Hicks were digging around in a dumpster looking for anything we maybe could use to help solve the murders,” Smith said.
Eventually, the investigators did complete their search and Kirkman was convicted and Fallis pleaded guilty to the court.
With most major crime cases, career law enforcement officers typically say they will most likely be retired before the offender is out of prison.
Smith also played a role in the 1999 triple-homicide reported on Valentine’s Day.
“I traveled to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to interview witnesses in that case,” Smith said.
Eventually, one person was convicted of the murders of Cayci Higgins, O.J. Blair and Dawn Rogers.
Smith worked in the Criminal Investigations Division for 12 years leading up to his retirement in March.
In his new position as an investigator for the law firm, Smith will naturally be assigned to investigate different types of cases and oversee court filings.
Smith has served on the County Commission for six years.
During some of his time off from work, Smith enjoys spending time with his son Kyle and playing a round or “three” of golf.
“Brian is one of the best fact-finders out there and we are glad to have him join us,” Kanovos said.
Smith said he was proud to have served the city of Cleveland for more than 30 years and glad to continue serving the residents of Bradley County as a commissioner.
The seasoned investigator just changed his overcoat, not his hat, as he continues doing what he does best.