‘Taps’ player says it was all about appreciation for police, Ofc. Smith

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Working overnights as a homicide detective, James Howe sees the very worst of human behavior.

“You meet some good family members here and there, but typically all you see is the bad,” Howe said.

A couple of days after his fellow officer, Steven Smith, was shot and killed in a SWAT standoff, Howe was working in his office at Columbus Police headquarters when he heard the familiar sound of “Taps.” When he got up and went to the window, he saw one man playing a bugle.

That man, Graham Webb III, told NBC4 he stopped first at headquarters and then at the Columbus Police Memorial before heading to work that morning. He said he wanted to show his appreciation and sorrow for Officer Smith and the department.

“Everybody that I know of has the same feelings,” Webb said. “They might not be playing taps, but they still have the sadness in their heart.”

Webb served 25 years in the Army before retiring in 1999. He’s been playing spontaneous “Taps” for several years. He said it’s his way of giving back and making the world kinder.

“Wouldn’t this be a much better place?” Webb said. “I mean, Officer Smith would still be alive.”

While “Taps” couldn’t bring Officer Smith back, Detective Howe said it made his week a little brighter.

“It’s been a tough year and a half in general for police and then to have someone like that, it’s quite an experience,” Howe said.

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