The Woodstock Police Department Honoring a Local Hero

The COPS Office is pleased to feature the November 2016 winner of the Community Policing in Action Photo Contest: The Woodstock (Georgia) Police Department. The winning photo features the Woodstock Police Department Honor Guard (Officer Keith McGaw, Officer Brad DeWoody, and Lieutenant Mark Hand) escorting Mr. Chester Reeve, a World War II veteran, during the annual Memorial Day ceremony at the Park at City Center, Woodstock, Georgia.

Woodstock, Georgia, is a growing community located just 30 miles north of Atlanta. Since 2000, its population has almost tripled from 10,000 to nearly 30,000 residents. A major interstate and two major state routes pass through Woodstock, making it a common thoroughfare for commuters and travelers. While the overall trend for crime over the past 4 or 5 years has been downward, traffic management has been a challenge for the Woodstock Police Department, as accident rates and injuries related to those accidents has increased.

“The increase in population has been challenging, but it also gives us opportunity to ultimately reach new residents, business owners, and travelers,” said Woodstock Police Chief Calvin W. Moss, who has served as chief since March 2012 after retiring from a 30-year career with the Atlanta Police Department. “I chose to retire and become chief of [the] Woodstock [Police Department] because I was looking for a place where I could offer my time and talent. It would make sense to retire and come to Woodstock, and it was not a mistake,” he shared. “What is striking about Woodstock is that when people talk about community policing, it’s not just about the officers being out in the community. It is a belief that permeates the department from top to bottom. Every officer has a responsibility to establish relationships with everyone in the community—from residents to business owners—to produce safe communities. That is ultimately what we’re all after.”

The department’s mission statement 1 is evidence of its commitment to community policing: “To pursue professional excellence by promoting effective partnerships with the community to prevent crime and to enhance the quality of life in Woodstock.”

Woodstock officers spend a great deal of time on the streets interacting with residents and business owners. They are often seen on bikes riding through the many bike trails in the city. They conduct driving courses for teenagers and new drivers, attend homeowners’ association meetings, and visit area schools for lunch and other activities. The department also hosts the Woodstock Law Enforcement Explorer Post program for kids ages 14–21; collaborates with the area fire department and other public safety agencies for the Citizens’ Public Safety Academy; and, through the Woodstock Public Safety Foundation, provides deserving students the opportunity to shop for Christmas gifts with officers and firefighters through the “Shop with a Hero” program.

One of the most significant events for the Woodstock community is the annual Memorial Day ceremony, which recognizes the sacrifice of Woodstock residents who have served the country in battle. Pictured in Woodstock’s winning photo is Mr. Chester Reeve, a World War II veteran who fought in Burma, China, and India.

“He was one of the many veterans here in the city and Cherokee County that our community feels like we owe a huge debt of gratitude to,” said Moss. “For many years he was the mainstay of our gratitude programs at the Park at City Center. He would be the honorary veteran who would place wreathes on the graves of the veterans who had passed away.”

Mr. Reeve was 95 years old when the photo was taken on May 25, 2015. As he was unable for the first time to walk during the ceremony, Officer Keith McGaw, a retired Army veteran, was honored to escort him. Eleven days later, Mr. Reeve passed away.

“His death was a very big loss for the city of Woodstock. He was certainly a great American. Prior to us finding out that the photo had won the COPS Office photo contest, we had it enlarged, printed, and presented it to the family during his burial,” shared Moss. “When we found out that the photo had won, we invited his family to a city council meeting and shared the news with them. They were ecstatic.”
Mr. Reeve was survived by three children, seven grandchildren, and one great-grandson whom he was able to meet prior to his passing. His legacy will not be forgotten in Woodstock.

The COPS Office congratulates the Woodstock Police Department for being one of the 12 winners of the COPS Office 2016 Community Policing in Action Photo Contest and for its commitment to community policing.

Written with contributions from Woodstock Police Chief Calvin W. Moss. Photo courtesy of Darleen Prem, Police Photographer.

Najla Haywood
Special Contributor
The COPS Office


References

1“Mission Statement,” Woodstock Police Department, accessed October 12, 2016, http://www.woodstockga.gov/index.aspx?NID=365.

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