Gov. Walz orders flags at half-staff in honor of officer Ron Smith

A funeral procession is also planned today to travel from Motley to Perham, starting at 3 p.m.

Ron Smith

Governor Tim Walz has ordered all United States and Minnesota flags to be flown at half-staff at all state buildings in Minnesota, from sunrise until sunset, today, Tuesday, Dec. 21, in honor and remembrance of Officer Ronald Smith.

“Officer Smith was a police officer who was respected by his family, friends, and colleagues, making a lasting impression on his community,” reads the proclamation issued by Governor Walz. “With its deepest gratitude, the State of Minnesota recognizes Officer Smith for his dedicated service to, and sacrifice for, his fellow Minnesotans, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and entire community.”

During their regular board meeting Tuesday, the Wadena County Board also paused for a moment of silence to remember officer Smith's life.

The community also has a chance to honor officer Ron Smith as a funeral procession is planned today, Tuesday, Dec. 21, for Smith. The procession starts at 3 p.m. in Motley and continues on through Staples, Verndale, Wadena, New York Mills, and ends on Perham's main street. Smith's funeral service was today in Motley.

People are encouraged to line up along the route with signs for support for Ron and his family. The procession should go through Wadena around 3:30 p.m., according to the Wadena Fire Department.


Officer Smith died on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021, following a battle with COVID-19. Officer Smith dedicated 14 years to law enforcement, serving with the Perham, New York Mills, and Wadena police departments and the Wadena County Sheriff’s Office. Officer Smith is survived by his wife Janet; his children, Dustin Smith (Jasmine), A.J. Lester (Jonny) and Carly Smith (Andrew); grandchildren Carlyle, Ryker, Maggie, Hudson, and Holly; his parents Hal and Jerri; sister, Rhonda Hash (Dean); mother-in-law Jane Callis; and many nieces, nephews, and friends.

At the direction of the Governor, Minnesota flies its flags at half-staff following the death of Minnesota first responders fallen in the line of duty, according to a press release from the Governor's office. Individuals, businesses, and other organizations are also encouraged to join in lowering their flags.

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