Across from the Main Street Speedway rests a little white building, home to the Amelia Police Department. The Department is comprised of ten officers, including a K9 officer with two dogs trained to search for drugs and explosives, locate missing people and evidence, and protect the officers. Many Amelia residents are familiar with Police Chief Jeff Wood who has served the department for twenty-seven years, first as a Patrolman, then as Chief since 2015.
Jeff Wood has been dedicated to law enforcement his entire life. A community-oriented person, he notes that he has “always had the desire to provide for the protection of citizens…using the common-sense approach to enforcing law both professionally and fairly and aiding those who require it.” Having grown up in Hyde Park, Mr. Wood originally joined the Madison Place Fire Department after graduation as a firefighter and EMT. After serving there for four years, he enrolled in a Butler County police academy, moving to Amelia in 1990 and falling in love with the small-town atmosphere. Since then, with a brief period working for Felicity, Mr. Wood has climbed the ranks to Chief. The role of chief is by no means all he does. He also holds a Federal Communications Commission license as a part of the emergency radio communications for SKYWARN storm-spotters, the US’s foremost line of defense when it comes to severe and dangerous weather. Describing his duty keeping the community safe through quick and efficient weather-reporting, Wood says, “There can be no finer reward than to know that our efforts have given communities the precious gift of time—seconds and minutes that can help save lives in the times of severe weather.” This job became extraordinarily relevant in the wake of the March 2017 tornado. One hundred and fifty yards in diameter and at a speed of 110 MPH, it traveled 6.4 miles into the Village, wreaking havoc on trees and power lines. Along with other Amelia residents, Chief Wood was there early to clean up and restore the damaged area. Mr. Wood is also a member of the Iron Shields Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club, a group mostly composed of Law Enforcement Officers who band together for community service and motorcycle-riding. The group also takes an active role in parades and other community events and assists as funeral escorts. As a hobby, Chief Wood is a member of the Aviation of Model Aeronautics, building and flying radio-controlled aircrafts, and recently constructed a large Extra 300 sport plane equipped with a 50cc gas engine. Aside from the recent tornado, two instances that stand out most prominently to him are the two separate bank robberies in Amelia throughout the time spent in his career.
Over the past few years, U.S. Law Enforcement has been surrounded by a whirlwind of media coverage following police shootings, the ensuing riots, and the rise of fervent social movements. According to Chief Wood, when media focuses solely on the more unfortunate incidents involving police and the community, “it can paint a falsely negative and often times unfair picture of law enforcement, leading to a loss of trust by the public,” a trust that is often hard to rebuild. In response to these national crises, Mr. Wood comments that the Amelia Police Department is making efforts to strengthen those community bonds and bolster that trust between residents and police.