Officer Shawn Wood reflects on 18 years of experience

When asked about Officer Shawn Wood, full-time patrolman, Chief of Police Thomas Ankrom said, “we’re lucky to have him here.”

“Officer Wood is an 18 year veteran of the police department,” Ankrom said. “He was born and raised in Waynesburg and ended up policing his hometown.”

Wood’s whole life has been centered around this hometown, Waynesburg. This is the town he grew up in, attended high school and went to college. As Wood stated, “It’s my neighborhood,” and that is why Wood came back to serve as a police officer here.

Even though Wood has been a police officer for 20 years and served in Waynesburg for 18 of those years, he didn’t always want to be a police officer. 

“In high school, I was really involved in drafting, screen printing [and] architecture, that kind of stuff,” Wood said . “After high school, I went for engineering and architecture and then halfway through a semester I decided ‘I can’t do this, I don’t want to be behind a desk all day.’”

This idea of  “not wanting to work a desk job” led Wood to major in psychology at Waynesburg college in 1993. Although Wood enjoyed the psychology classes, part way through his time at Waynesburg he started to take criminal justice classes. 

“Halfway through taking all my psychology classes…I started taking criminal justice classes up there and I thought, ‘This is something I could do the rest of my life.”

Wood ended up graduating Waynesburg College with a psychology degree in 1997 and then attended the police academy. 

“I went to the police academy after graduation and here I am,” Wood said. 

For 18 years, Wood has been working as a full-time patrolman for the Waynesburg police and continues to do an excellent job, said Ankrom. 

“He’s an aggressive officer [and has] maintained that level of policing throughout his 18 years here,” Ankrom said. “Yet, he seems to be very fair with the public. He’s very good with community policing.”

When Wood is not working as a police officer, he’s coaching his daughter’s softball team. He said it consumes a lot of the free time he does possess.

“[When] we’re doing something [in] reference to softball, it’s 24/7…She [his daughter] plays for school, she plays for travel. It’s all year round.”

If Wood isn’t coaching softball, he and his family can be found relaxing on their boat.

“What we do as a family to relax, we have a boat and we float around and relax on the boat.”

All of this helps Wood get through the “bad stuff” as a police officer.

“We do see a lot of bad things and that’s pretty much what I remember,” Wood said.

Despite this, Wood said there is good stuff that happens too.

“The good things are station tours with kids, boy scouts and the GARC clients,” Wood said.

Just last week, GARC clients, mentally disabled men and women, came to the station. They were given a tour, were able to put police gear on and shown a police car. 

Events and visits like these are what make the job worthwhile for Wood.

“I like the spontaneous nature of the job…that’s why I started the career,” Wood said