Friendship unfolds between former drug dealer and arresting officer

“The arrest ended up being the best thing that ever happened to me, honestly,” said Thomas Smith


By Suzie Ziegler 

GREER, S.C. — Thomas Smith credits Officer Hampton Knapp with helping turn his life around. Their relationship had an unconventional beginning. 

The unlikely pair met three years ago when Knapp recognized Smith from an outstanding warrant, reported FOX Carolina

"I ended up just selling drugs, and that's how I lived. That's how I survived,” Smith told FOX Carolina. “The arrest ended up being the best thing that ever happened to me, honestly.” 

Smith ended up in drug court, where he was tasked with completing an intensive 18-month rehabilitation program. He did it. 

Knapp received the positive update on Smith’s progress and was moved to reach out. 

"I'll get a letter probably once a month that says, ‘So-and-so failed drug court.’ Honestly, it's kind of disheartening,” the Greer police officer said. “One thing that's special about Thomas is that out of everyone I've arrested, he's the only person that actually completed the course.” 

The pair met up again to discuss Smith’s progress and they now text every day, according to the report. 

"Greenville County drug court completely changed my life," Smith said. 

These days, Smith has a job and is going to Narcotics Anonymous meetings. For his part, Knapp now wears an N.A. tag on his belt to inspire others.

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