June 20, 2018

Wood retires from Newnan Police Department

During the reception, friends and colleagues share their favorite memories of Detective Sergeant Chad Wood, left, while Chief D.L. "Buster" Meadows encourages more stories to be told. (Photo: Times-Herald.com)

During the reception, friends and colleagues share their favorite memories of Detective Sergeant Chad Wood, left, while Chief D.L. “Buster” Meadows encourages more stories to be told. (Photo: Times-Herald.com)

(The Newnan Times-Herald/Clay Neely) — After 18 years of service to the Newnan Police Department, Detective Sergeant Chad Wood is closing his chapter in Coweta.

Wood has spent half his life in the police department and the other half waiting to get in. Since he was five years old, Wood said he knew what he wanted to be. “A cop or a fireman, and I’ve been both,” he said. “From the moment I saw my godfather in a deputy uniform, I knew it’s what I was meant to do.”

Wood has lived in Heard County for the last 25 years, but grew up in Coweta, just off Franklin Highway. Wood, now 40, recently graduated from Mercer with his masters in criminal justice administration. He’s now on his way to work for Norfolk Southern as a special agent for the company. His new beat will take him across 22 different states, covering 22,000 miles of railroad tracks.

In 1998, Wood came to work for the Newnan Housing Authority. He has spent several years working in Heard County, both at the sheriff’s office and for the fire department.

For the next two years, he got to know the community through his beat.Wood knew a lot of people his own age, but the job afforded him the ability to meet so many older citizens in Newnan. When they had an issue, they could call and ask for advice or discuss the best way to approach any problem they had.

“We became fast friends,” he recalled. “I spent a lot of time sitting and talking to residents, asking about their problems and issues – getting to know each other on a first name basis.”

After working for the housing authority, Wood would rise through the ranks – bike patrol, traffic patrol, field training and ultimately being promoted to detective sergeant in 2007.

“Getting to meet people is the best part of the job,” Wood said. “Teaching drivers ed and using the ‘drunk goggles’ at Newnan High School. Influencing kids to do the right thing is something I’m probably the most proud of.”

In his life spent in public service, Wood believes that first impressions are crucial.

“Newnan is a historic town and people from all over come through here,” he said. “You want to leave a lasting impression of them to come back. In that way, you want to serve as the best representative of the town you can.”

Friends and co-workers shared their memories of Wood during a farewell roast / send off held at the police department on Thursday afternoon.

Alongside him was his son, who also shares a dream of working in law enforcement someday.Chief D.L. “Buster” Meadows recalled how much Wood has meant to the force and to the community he serves.

“He formed relationships in every case he worked because he took an interest in people and followed up with them,” Meadows said.

He talked about the Fatal Vision Program – a driver’s education class at Newnan High School that Wood has overseen for many years.”I remember when he shared the beer goggles used in his class which simulates the different levels of intoxication,” Meadows said. “I haven’t drank in 34 years, but after I took the pair that simulated the highest pair, I almost threw up. He put on a pair too and we held each other up.”

“Chad’s done a good job for us, he’s always been conscious about what he does,” said Deputy Chief Rodney Riggs. “He’s been able to develop relationships around the area which has been instrumental in helping us solve crimes. We’re going to miss him.”

Wood says he’ll still be seen around town – working at First Baptist, First Methodist, and still acting as a deputy coroner for Heard County. He also serves as an elected member of the school board in Heard.

“I love being civically involved, no matter where I am,” he said. “Being involved in the community is something I’ll always be a part of.”

For more Newnan and Coweta County news visit times-herald.com.

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