Salute Our Heroes: Sergeant Wood wears many hats in St. Marys
“I really am not in it for the glitz and glam. What I do, is what I do. That’s my job and I enjoy it.”
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - St. Marys Sergeant Jon Wood can be seen aiding in serious investigations or helping community members with everyday struggles.
Wood comes from a family of veterans including his dad, brother, and a few uncles.
He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1997 serving four years before moving to the Coast Guard. He said he left the Navy less than a month after the attacks on September 11, 2001.
“I specifically went to the Coast Guard because they do law enforcement. I’d seen what they had done working with the Navy and what they did along the coast with different things going on, search and rescue, and I wanted to get involved in that,” he said.
He lived in Chicago, Florida, Miami, and New York. He said his favorite job was in Philadelphia checking international shipping coming to the U.S.
He then moved back to Kansas and started working for the Riley County Police Department.
A position opened up in St. Marys, so he and his wife decided that’s the place to raise their family. He’s been with the department for eight years.
He doesn’t live in St. Marys but being a sergeant means being heavily involved in the community, especially a tight-knit one.
“Kind of an old-school-home-town vibe. It’s middle America if you want to look at it that way, I mean, we’re a small community. St. Marys has maybe 3,000 people, maybe a little bit more, everybody kind of knows everybody.”
He was named Sergeant in 2019 handling personal crime investigations, but being in a small town has him wearing a lot of hats. He helps with public relations at the station as well as being a mechanic working on patrol cars.
“I’m okay with it, but I really am not in it for the glitz and glam. What I do, is what I do. That’s my job and I enjoy it.”
He said people shouldn’t be afraid to call if they need the department’s help.
“If you’re in trouble, if you think something bad’s happening or is going bad or it’s going to happen, it’s better to call the police and not need us than to not call us and need us.”
Wood said he and the captain are always brainstorming to create opportunities to engage with the community. That includes their monthly “Movies in the Park” event. They also work with the Fraternity of Police for their annual “Cops and Kids Shopping Day” sponsoring families for Christmas shopping.
“Knowing whose dog gets out, what person may get stuck because of the snow, or what people are going to be dealing with on a daily basis - return business if you will - is kind of comforting. It’s kind of nice like people say, ‘Hey, you know about this?’ ‘Yeah I know about that,” he said. “I can send them over to the armory for the local garage sale or give directions to people in town or take care of whatever cases I need to because I already know the people involved.”
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