SHELDON—Todd Wood’s childhood dream was to be a cop.
At the 55, Wood is still living his dream and after almost 26 years with the Sheldon Police Department, Wood was recently promoted to a sergeant position.
“I am really excited and I am looking forward to it,” Wood said. “I am ready to step up to the challenge and take on the extra responsibility of being a supervisor.”
His first attempt to get into law enforcement didn’t work out, though. During his senior year at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Wood tried to get on the Iowa State Patrol staff. The state patrol didn’t take him on, allowing Wood to finish his degree in business administration.
“Looking back, I’m absolutely 100 percent glad that didn’t work out because that allowed me to finish out my four-year degree and I went into finance and banking and discovered that world wasn’t for me,” Wood said. “I am not an indoor-office type.”
The second try was more successful. Wood joined the Belmond Police Department as a reserve officer in 1990 before accepting a full-time position in 1992.
Then on May 1, 1995, Wood joined the Sheldon Police Department. He’s been with the department since, and after taking his oath of office at the Sheldon City Council meeting March 24, Wood joins David Dykstra as one of two sergeants.
“It’s different responsibilities and you have kind of a different relationship with the fellow officers,” Wood said. “Now you are in a supervisor role and you are conscientious of your example. We have good guys, a good police department and we all get along, so it’s in a good way.”
Police chief Scott Burtch said it was an easy decision to promote Wood to sergeant.
“He’s been one of the leaders without the official title,” Burtch said. “He’s going to do a great job and the promotion is well-deserved.”
Burtch said Wood fills a key role as the computer technician in the office.
“Todd has taken an interest in a lot of the software,” Burtch said. “There’s been changes to that and he’s taken to that. He’s very well versed in the software programs that we have.”
Wood would not call himself a computer whiz, though.
“I am the guy that is left with any computer problems. It all lands on me,” Wood said. “I am probably the most literate computer guy of all of the guys so it just happened. I took it upon myself to stay on top of the electronics and the digital world. It’s something that interests me and I’ve taken it upon myself to fill that role.”
Wood graduated from Corwith-Wesley High School, which is now closed, and graduated from Dordt in 1988.
It was in Corwith where Wood developed his fascination with a future in law enforcement.
Ray Bonnstetter was the marshal of Corwith at the time.
“I’m not even sure he was a certified officer,” Wood said. “He was interested in the position and they gave him the keys to the cop car.”
When Wood was in junior high, he told Bonnstetter he wanted to be a cop. Bonnstetter ended up being a “grandpa-type figure” for Wood, who rode around with Bonnstetter in the squad car.
“I rode with him often and he loved it. He would take me to the county jail and showed me around,” Wood said. “I remember riding over to Garner with him because he had to put a new radio in the squad car. My parents knew Ray and they had no problem saying I could ride around with him for a couple of hours.
“He would come by the house, I would jump in and we would ride around for a couple of hours. We did that a lot.”
Wood married his high school sweetheart Deanna before their sophomore year of college. This upcoming August marks 36 years of marriage for the couple. Deanna works at Downtown Hardware.
“My wife, bless her heart, has been supportive from day one,” Wood said. “She’s done very well as a cop’s wife. It’s not easy. She’s had to raise the three kids pretty much. Had to get them ready for school, get them from school, go to their programs and get they ready for church. Everything like that without me. She has done a great job.
“It’s not all been roses but she has done very well. I’m glad for that. It wouldn’t have worked otherwise.”
Their son, Justin Wood, 33, lives in Fort Dodge. A daughter, Kristin Dykstra, 30, lives in Orange City. Another daughter, Trisha, was killed in a car crash in 2011 at the age of 17.
The Woods have four grandchildren.
Wood has thought about retirement but that time is a few years away.
“I am going to try and stick around a few more years,” Wood said. “I am going to try and make it five more years maybe if all goes well.”