Smith grew up in Homewood, where he co-captained the Homewood High School football team that won the state championship in 1974. Smith went on to join the Army before becoming a Birmingham police officer.
On March 22, 1995, Smith and other officers were called to a 3:00 AM domestic dispute in Ensley. Upon arrival, officers were told an armed man who had already fired two shorts was inside along with a toddler. Smith entered the house, retrieved the toddler, and went out the front door, where he was accidentally shot in the right cheek by fellow officer Ronnie C. Hull. The bullet caused brain damage. Hull was later demoted because of the incident, being charged with several violations of department rules.
Smith spent weeks in a coma after undergoing hours of surgery at University Hospital. He was later transferred to Spain Rehabilitation Center. After months of rehab, he returned home to Pleasant Grove on October 4, 1995. Smith's injuries resulted in deafness in one ear, blindness in one eye, and slowness in speech. He has endured multiple surgeries, including plastic surgery to help restore his face.
Smith still receives workers compensation checks, but his friends have done fund raisers to help pay for his expenses. He also visits patients at the Lakeshore Foundation and Alabama Head Injury Foundation to share his experiences. He was appointed grand marshal of the 2008 We Love Homewood Day parade and received a Quality of Life award from the mayor. Smith's friends are also organizing a Randy Smith College Scholarship to be awarded annually to a high school senior exemplifying spirit and determination.
- "City officer shot in face at dispute call." (March 22, 1995). The Birmingham News.
- "Policeman wounded by officer." (March 23, 1995). The Birmingham News.
- "Vigil for a good cop." (April 6, 1995). The Birmingham News.
- "Wounded officer remains in hospital after 5 months." (August 7, 1995). The Birmingham News.
- "Chief demotes officer who shot another in hostage situation." (September 19, 1995). The Birmingham News.
- "Officer may never be back on beat." (October 5, 1995). The Birmingham News.
- "In line of duty disabled officer says city not giving him enough help." (February 22, 1997). The Birmingham News.