Lakewood has found a replacement for its retiring police chief. Here’s who it selected

Courtesy of the City of Lakewood

The City of Lakewood has selected its next police chief.

Patrick D. Smith will join the Lakewood Police Department on March 1, City Manager John Caulfied announced Friday.

Current Lakewood Police Chief Mike Zaro is set to retire Feb. 17. Zaro was named chief in 2015.

“I am honored and thrilled to be entrusted with this amazing opportunity,” Smith said in the news release. ”I look forward to getting to know the community and the dedicated women and men of the Lakewood Police Department. Working together we will continue to enhance the culture of proactive community policing and exceptional service provided to our residents and visitors.”

The Lakewood police chief oversees 111 full-time employees.

“I am confident Chief Smith is a great fit not only for the department and our organization, but also for our community,” Caulfield said in the news release. “I’m excited to see him continue to build on the work achieved by our past chiefs, and continue to elevate our police department to the next level as he leads our officers.”

Smith served as the police chief of the Birmingham Police Department from 2018 to 2022. According to a city news release, Smith increased engagement with the community, improved staff accountability, modernized the department by adding a Real Time Crime Center that integrated technology for the department and established personnel development programs.

According to an report, Smith resigned in January 2022 as the Birmingham police chief to focus on personal matters. His resignation came as Birmingham saw a spike in homicides, according to

Smith started his 32-year law enforcement career with the Los Angeles Police Department. He was promoted to captain at the Hollenbeck Division and Metropolitan Division. Smith managed SWAT operations, K-9 search events, mounted enforcement, dignitary protection, the underwater dive team, crime suppression that included hostage situations and active shooting events, the news release stated.

Smith also served seven years in the U.S. Marine Corps. Smith plans to work with the neighboring Joint Base Lewis-McChord and military community, according to the news release.

Smith has a Master of Arts in organizational management and a bachelors in business management from the University of Phoenix. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Executive Institute and PERF’s (Police Executive Research Forum) Senior Management Institute for Police.

The city hosted an open house in December for Lakewood residents to meet the six police chief finalists. The city used a national search firm to conduct the police chief search and hiring process.