JACKSONVILLE, FL -

Gil Smith says it was an honor to serve Jacksonville as a police officer for 26 years, and now he’s proud to join News4Jax as our new crime and safety analyst

Being chosen for the job isn’t an assignment Gil Smith takes lightly. He said he is looking forward to helping to keep the community up to date on crime trends and providing insight during breaking news events.

Smith has worked in several different capacities with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, from street patrol to working with kids to serving as JSO's public information officer.

"I'm looking forward to giving this community information about keeping themselves and their family safe, and offer some things they should do differently in public," said Smith.

Smith is no stranger to streets of Jacksonville. When Smith joined the force in 1988, the crack epidemic was tearing families apart. Today he says juvenile crime is one of the River City's biggest challenges.

"You’ve probably noticed there have been a lot of juvenile crimes shooting in the area, and a lot of times it seems like it’s so much because they are retaliation shootings, going back to get the person who did it," said Smith.

Smith spent a good portion of his career trying to steer kids in the right direction, working as school resource officer and with the Dare Program. He says his most gratifying experiences on the force were earned on street patrol. In the 1990s he was a public information officer.

Nearly 20 years later, Smith has expanded his knowledge on fighting the bad guys, with insight on fighting economic, elderly, computer and personal identity crimes.

Smith says he looks forward to building the public's trust on News4Jax, with the goal of making you and your families lives safer everyday.

”If you haven’t been the victim of a crime, it's not something you are thinking of, or it may have happened along time ago, so you may forget to lock your car doors, or check the bushes by the ATM, but you’ve got to stay aware and always be looking out.”

Smith just retired from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office last week and his first day with News4Jax is Friday.