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Brian Smith, Susie Hoffmann and Tommy Olson

Brian Smith spoke about his career in law enforcement on Sept. 12. Check out photos from our first Wake Up With Washburn of the 2013-14 academic year.

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School of Business dean David Sollars

Before Brian Smith took the stage, Merle Blair, President Farley, David Sollars and Tony Palbicke spoke at Wake Up. Check out videos of their speeches on our playlist at YouTube.

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State trooper attributes success to Washburn education

Brian Smith during his presentation at Wake Up With Washburn

By Ernie W. Webb III |

“You cannot not communicate.”

That lesson has served Brian Smith well during his career as a state trooper for the Kansas Highway Patrol. It’s also a lesson he learned while attending Washburn University in the 1980s.

“It has been very important during my career to remember that,” Smith said during his presentation Sept. 12 as the first Wake Up With Washburn speaker of the 2013-14 academic year. “It has been one of the ways I’ve been able to get information while I’m working, on traffic stops and in investigations.”

Smith, a 1986 alumnus and a lieutenant, has become an expert in communicating during his 25-year career. Among dozens of duties, the Alta Vista, Kan., native assists the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration National Training Center in the development and deployment of an interview and investigative techniques course.

“I owe my career to what I learned here at Washburn,” Smith said during the breakfast lecture. “I’m very proud that I graduated from here.”

Smith began his career with the Kansas Highway Patrol in 1988, based in Osage County. By 1999, he was a lieutenant and assigned to the Professional Standards Unit at state headquarters.

He transferred to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Assistance program in 2001 and supervised the northeast region of the unit’s operations.

From 2005 to 2007, Smith worked on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Interdiction Task Force. In 2009, he was assigned to the Special Operations and Domestic Highway Enforcement Team.

Smith currently supervises state troopers assigned to the DEA and FBI Task Force. He also serves as the state asset forfeiture coordinator and the Kansas Highway Patrol and Domestic Highway Enforcement Team interdiction coordinator.

“Washburn prepared me well, as it does all of our graduates,” Smith said. “I work with graduates from schools across the country, and Washburn graduates are as good as anybody.”

During his career, Smith has been involved in the seizures of approximately 15,000 pounds of marijuana, 600 pounds of cocaine, 30 pounds of methamphetamines, 4 ounces of heroin and the recovery of more than $4 million as a result of his traffic stops.

His honors include several letters of appreciation, multiple departmental and unit recognitions, a lifetime achievement award and awards for the largest seizures of the year.