Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV


February 19, 2010

Long working relationship strengthens ties to officer, community servant


During his funeral service, a pastor said Charlie told him that he lived the life of the 23rd Psalm and recited the part about being led beside still waters, but I immediately thought about having a table prepared for me before my enemies. When I mentioned my observation to my wife, she said that as Charlie walked through the valley of the shadow of death, he feared no evil, because God was with him.

Charlie was direct and while both of us honored the barriers that separate the press from the people we report on, I believe I earned Charlie’s respect, and I know he had mine. Sgt. Jose Centeno pointed out that the public rarely sees the work of undercover officers and as a result, the public doesn’t get to know them like they get to know uniformed officers. Because of my work, I got to know Charlie Smothers, and I came to admire his commitment to serving the people of the region. When I saw him, regardless of the disguise he was in at any given time, it always made me smile.

I knew he tried to help with all of his heart.

Bill Archer is a senior editor at the Daily Telegraph. Contact him at

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