Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Patrolman Daniel J. Smith

Essex County Police Department, New Jersey

End of Watch Monday, September 17, 1984

Leave a Reflection

Reflections for Patrolman Daniel J. Smith

On this 36th anniversary of your untimely and heroic death I would like to reiterate my previous reflection and say that you will never be forgotten.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

September 17, 2020

I'll always remember!
Rest in Peace Brother.

Ptlm. (ret) Mark Hanson
Millburn PD & Academy classmate

September 17, 2020

Thank you for your service and please know that your sacrifice will always be remembered by your law enforcement brethren. Rest in peace always.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

July 31, 2020

I knew Danny from Bloomfield ...he was a great guy ...outgoing, friendly and above all decent. Altho many years have passed, it is good to see so many still keep him alive in our memory. Rest in Peace ...may God's face shine upon you.

Jack Sullivan

June 27, 2020

Patch News
Aug 28, 2019

Community Honors Essex County Cop Fatally Shot On I-280

Essex County native Daniel Smith was 27-years-old when he died doing what he loved best… protecting and serving his community.

ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — Bloomfield native Daniel Smith was 27-years-old when he pulled over a driver for a traffic violation on I-280 in East Orange. And according to his supervisors, in those final moments – before the fatal shot rang out – the third-generation cop was doing what he loved best… protecting and serving his community.

As the 35th anniversary of his death approaches, officials gathered Wednesday to pay tribute to Smith, an Essex County law enforcement officer who was fatally shot during a traffic stop on Sept. 17, 2984.

With a misty-eyed crowd looking on, officials dedicated the "Patrolman Daniel 'Danny' J. Smith Memorial," which now has road signs in his honor on a stretch of I-280 between mile markers 11.1 and 12.4.

According to Essex County officials, the tragic shooting took place during a routine traffic stop:

"Smith, who was 27-years-old, was driving alone in his patrol car when he pulled over a motorist for a traffic violation near the Oakwood Avenue overpass. When he approached the driver's side door, the motorist fatally shot Smith. An East Orange police patrol arrived at the scene shortly and a brief chase ensued. It ended when the suspect crashed his car into the highway median. Police then arrested a man and a woman, and recovered several guns from the suspect's automobile."

The shooter was convicted and is currently serving a life sentence at East Jersey State Prison, authorities said.

Essex County officials said police work runs in Smith's blood; his grandfather, father and three uncles were all members of law enforcement agencies.

Smith graduated from the Essex County Police Academy in Cedar Grove and joined the Essex County Police Force in January 1983. He graduated from Bloomfield High School in 1975 and attended Fairleigh Dickenson University.

He is survived by his wife, Patricia, and his sister, Margaret Smith Harvey.

Several public officials offered glowing words in tribute to the late officer's memory.

"Danny's friends and colleagues never forgot, and every September 17th there are telephone calls, emails and text messages," said Captain Peter Corbo of the Essex County Sheriff's Office, who spoke on behalf of Smith's family.

"It gives me great pride in knowing that the thousands of people driving on Route 280 will see these signs and know Danny Smith was a trues Essex County hero," Corbo said.

Sen. Teresa Ruiz, who sponsored a resolution in Smith's honor, said the late officer was a member of the force for just about 18 months, but his enthusiasm, energy and dedication made an immediate impact.

Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura said it's important to never lose sight of what happened to Smith.

"As many of you know, the job as a police officer often puts our brave uniformed men and women in dangerous face-to-face confrontations with criminals who are often armed with deadly firepower," Fontoura said. "In order to keep our communities and neighbors safe, these are the accepted risks of our chosen profession, risks that were well known to Officer Daniel Smith and his family."

Retired Police Officer

August 29, 2019

Rest in peace Patrolman Smith.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

March 29, 2019

I wish you hadn't made the stop so you could be with us today. I'll never understand why a good man like you had to die. It's just not right!
Rest in Peace Brother,

Mark Hanson Ptlm. (ret)
Millburn PD Academy classmate

September 16, 2016

I often think about my friend Danny Smith during these times even more than in the past. Rest In Peace, Danny, it was an honor and privilege to be one of the pall bearers at your funeral. I pray that your family has endured well over these past 32 years.

A. J. DeMarzo
Passaic County Park Police

July 29, 2016



May 4, 2016

Dan my friend "Rest in Peace Brother" I will always remember you.

Ptl Larry Malang retired
West Orange PD NJ

August 31, 2014

To the family and friends of Patrolman Daniel Smith and his fellow officers in the Essex Police Department

On behalf of our entire family, we wish to pay honor to Danny's memory on the twenty-sixth anniversary of the day Danny so tragically lost his life. His heroism, valor and bravery will be forever remembered.

Our family lost our beloved Larry Lasater when he was fatally shot in April of 2005 during a foot pursuit of two bank robbers, so we know the anquish you are still experiencing.

This reflection is sent with the utmost respect for the service Patrolman Smith gave to his community and the citizens of New Jersey, and the supreme sacrifice he and his family made on September 17, 1984.

Phyllis Loya, mother of fallen officer
Larry Lasater, Pittsburg, CA PD eow 4/24/05

Phyllis Loya
mother of fallen officer Larry Lasater

September 18, 2010

Danny was a good cop and a good friend. We worked on the same squad. We had good times on and off the job. 25 years ago today, 9-17-84, I will never forget. Rest in peace pal. Rest in peace to all our fallen officers.

Det. Sam Zarro
Roxbury Township Police

September 17, 2009

Danny was a great friend of mine, I reflect back to the day he was taken away from us often, probably one of the saddest days of our department's life.

Danny I know your with Gods Police Dept. in Heaven

Your Remebered Forever

Anthony Vincent

Patrolman Anthony Vincent

March 8, 2008

The Badge"

He starts his shift each day
To respond to calls unknown.
He drives a marked patrol car.
A police officer he is known.

He's paid by the citizens' taxes
To make it safe on the streets.
But he usually has a second job
'Cause a waitress has his salary beat.

Now he doesn't know a holiday
'Cause he works all year round.
And when Thanksgiving and Christmas finally arrive
At his home he cannot be found.

He's cursed and assaulted often,
The one whos blood runs blue.
He seldom ever gets a thanks,
To some he's just a fool.

His friends are always other cops
'Cause people just don't understand
That underneath his badge and gun,
He's just another man.

He knows there might not be a tomorrow
In this world of drugs and crime.
And he gets so mad at the court system
'Cause the crooks don't get any time.

And each day when he leaves for work,
He prays to God above.
Please bring me home after my shift
So I can see the ones I love.

But tonight he stops a speeding car,
He's alone down this ole' highway.
It's just a little traffic infraction.
He does it everyday.

Well, he walks up to the driver's window,
And his badge is shining bright.
He asked the guy for a driver's license,
When a shot rang through the night.

Yes, the bullet hit its mark,
Striking the officer in the chest.
But the Department's budget didn't buy
Each officer a bullet-proof vest.

So he lay on the ground bleeding.
His blood wasn't blue - His blood was red.
And briefly he thought of his loved ones
'Cause in a moment the officer was dead.

In the news they told the story
Of how this officer had died.
And some who listened cared less,
But those who loved him cried.

Well, they buried him in uniform
With his badge pinned on his chest.
He even had his revolver,
He died doing his best.

Written By:
David L. Bell
Richland County Sheriff's Department
Columbia, South Carolina
Used with Special Permission of the Author
Copyright © 1999 - All Rights Reserved
and may not be duplicated without permission

Investigator David L Bell
Richland County Sheriff's Dept., Columbia, SC

December 12, 2007

Here we are again one year later honoring and remembering you as always.

Cpl/1 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police

November 26, 2007

You are remembered today and thank you Sir for your service

Manchester, NH

November 26, 2007

Rest in peace my brother, watch over all Law Enforcement Officers.

Kevin T Ryan
Ex-New Jersey Cop

November 26, 2007

Dan was not only my partner at the time he was murdered but a very good friend on and off duty . I was the first one on scene when he was taken from us . we were split up that day due to a staffing shortage. I can't and never will forget him . I know you are with God my friend .

Ptlm. carlos castro (ret)
friend and partner

June 28, 2007

May you walk with God and watch over your brother and sister officers from above. Thank you for your heroism today, 21 years later, and everyday as we will always remember you.

Cpl/1 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police

November 26, 2006

Rest in peace my brother.

Police Officer
Burlington Township PD

December 23, 2004

Danny's memory lingers on within the ranks and members of the Essex County Police, he will never be forgotten. He gave his life to ensure the safety of the citizens of Essex County.
Captain Thomas Paranzine
Patrol Operations Commander
Essex County Police Department

Captain Thomas Paranzine
Essex County Police Department

October 18, 2003

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