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Chief Adam Woodrow '02 Turns Broken Plans Into Police Success

By Emily McGuinness '20 FRIDAY, MAY 3, 2019 - 12:00 PM WNE100

Not many people can say they became the chief of police at the University they graduated from, but Chief Adam Woodrow '02 loves being able to say just that.

After completing his Bachelor of Science in Law Enforcement in 2002, Woodrow went on to complete his Master of Science in Criminal Justice Administration in 2004, all while working for Western New England's Public Safety unit. Chief Woodrow has been employed at Western New England for more than thirty-three years. He was first hired as an officer in 1986, and attended the police academy in 1988. Quickly after, his efforts were recognized with a promotion to the rank of Sergeant.

It was after this advancement that Woodrow decided to take classes as an adult learner. “I began taking courses at the college to improve myself and for any future promotional opportunities,” he remarked.

Woodrow’s education at Western New England, however, began before this point in time. He came in as a College of Business freshman out of high school when his original plans to go into the United States Air Force were unexpectedly canceled. Woodrow was involved in a car accident that resulted in a snapped hip, and a disappointing new reality of what he would no longer be able to do.

“I had my whole life planned out before that crash,” said Woodrow. “I came into school unprepared mentally for the changes that were happening.”

Woodrow was academically dismissed due to this lack of preparation, focus, and drive before he could complete his original undergraduate business degree. Using this past experience, though, Chief Woodrow was able to rebuild himself, find a passion for policing, and eventually get back into the classroom in order to graduate.

“Being an adult learner at WNE allowed me to sit in classes with experienced Law Enforcement instructors who provided me with real life examples that coincide with course lectures,” said Woodrow.

In the fall of 1994, Woodrow was promoted again to Detective Sergeant. He was the first full-time investigator appointed at Western New England. He was also trained to be the first certified sexual assault investigator and managed all court cases for incidents that took place on campus. After the completion of his master’s degree, Adam was promoted to Captain at Public Safety, and on January 2nd, 2007, he was promoted to Chief of Police.

“My favorite part of being Chief at Western New England,” said Woodrow, “is my ability to work with our students.”

Woodrow commented on his time spent as Chief by saying that he enjoys being able to teach students how to be good citizens in their campus community, so that they can continue doing so in their future societies. Woodrow also loves being involved with student clubs and projects, as well as attending Student Senate meetings in order to answer questions and provide valuable input from his perspective as Chief of Police.

After being appointed Chief, Woodrow made many changes to the program. The gap was closed between his office and the uniformed staff when Adam made the decision to come to work in full uniform daily. He also began responding to calls, just as the staff would, to create an equalized environment.

“I wanted to show my staff that no one person in our department is above handling even the smallest call on campus,” reported Woodrow.

As Chief, Woodrow also worked hard to get the department accredited through the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission. After sending members to training programs, the first certification was given on November 13, 2013. Later, in 2016, the department achieved a full accreditation status. During this time of progress, Woodrow also continued his membership on the Massachusetts Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators where he has been on the Training and Education Committee for 14 years. For the last ten, he has been Committee Chairperson. Through this organization, he works closely with the leadership and training staff of the MA State Police to create an 18-week police academy.

Chief Woodrow never imagined that his time at Western New England would turn into what it is today. But, after talking with a student while he was Detective Sergeant who happened to live in the very same dorm room as he did when he was a freshman, Chief Woodrow realized that he wanted to remain in this setting for longer than anticipated.

“My past experiences and failures as a student would serve me well to help me develop a rapport with these students,” he said. “I had certainly walked in their shoes.”

When looking back now, Woodrow recalls his best experience during his time at Western New England during the summer of 1998 when he met the Alumni Director, his future wife. Kara Kapinos, who still works at the University, insisted on having a Beer Garden at Homecoming that year. Kara and Adam met several times to discuss this idea, and the potential issues it may cause, before coming to a resolution and holding a successful Homecoming.

“Kara and I began dating a year later, we married, raised a son and have had the greatest, loving relationship ever since,” said Woodrow.

Chief Adam Woodrow has had a whirlwind of an experience at Western New England. He is lucky to be able to say that his time spent here has been extremely rewarding in the end, despite initial difficulties. “I continue to enjoy my work here every day. I’ve met so many wonderful people and it has been a privilege to watch our students grow, as well as groom new police officers and provide them with their first opportunity in law enforcement.” Woodrow stated.

Through all of his hard work, continued dedication to safety on campus, and the betterment of his department, Adam Woodrow has certainly made an impact that will last forever at this University – and it will be something he carries with him forever.