NINNEKAH, Okla. -- A safety officer with the Greenwood School District was killed in a car crash Monday afternoon after his vehicle collided with a semitrailer on Oklahoma 277 in Grady County, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported.
The Fort Smith Police Department shared on Facebook that the officer, Chris Boyd, 48, affectionately referred to as "Junior" by colleagues, started working at the department in 1995 after working as an animal warden. The post said he quickly set himself apart as an officer with both courage and character, spending nearly 22 years with the department in various capacities and as "a mentor and a legend" to SWAT team members before retiring as a corporal in 2017.
"Despite the rugged exterior, Junior had a soft spot for animals, colleagues, and anyone in need," the post said. "There were few things he took more seriously than being the best he could be at his job, as evidenced by his extensive training (more than 2,643 hours with our agency alone) and his willingness to help train others."
Boyd then joined Greenwood Public Schools as a school safety officer and served as a reserve officer with the Greenwood Police Department.
The Greenwood School District said Boyd made a positive impact in the school community and the district will be forever thankful for his work and for the opportunity to know him.
"Before his retirement from FSPD, Mr. Boyd was the recipient of the Mayor's Hero Award, American Red Cross Hero Award, Jaycee's Officer of the Year, Lifesaving Award and received a VIP Flight with the USAF Thunderbirds. Chris was also a retired team lead of the SWAT unit with the Fort Smith Police Department," the district shared.
"His presence at the bus changeover every afternoon, his relationships with kids, and the connections he made with our special students are just a few examples of the things we loved about Chris."
"I truly believe most citizens have little clue about the warrior we had inside that school," Greenwood Police Chief Will Dawson said on Facebook. "I, as a chief, simply felt at ease knowing he was roaming those halls. I could try and elaborate, but I would do him no justice in trying to list the training and skills he acquired over his career. I can only simply say that someone will have big shoes to fill and Junior will be greatly missed."
The district said it will share information about upcoming services or memorials when it becomes available.