Editor's Note: This is the third story in a series looking at this area's school resource officers and the work they do to keep local students and schools safe.
For nearly 32 years, Lt. Freeland Wood has been a Shawnee police officer, but he's spent much of his law enforcement career as a school resource officer. Wood recently began his first year as the new school resource officer at North Rock Creek Public Schools.
According to Wood, he has enjoyed the new school year so far and he loves being able to work with all the children in the district.
"I love it here. Mr. Moody and all the staff are awesome and it's like a family so I love it," Wood said. "It's just an amazing group of kids from pre-K all the way up to the high school level."
Wood said he worked at Shawnee High School for 17 years before being asked to North Rock Creek and for him, the best aspect of his job is working with the children and seeing his family.
"I love working with the kids. It's just amazing here. I get to work with my wife...I've got two of my grandbabies here," Wood said.
Wood said his wife Shirley teaches Pre-K at North Rock Creek Elementary and he is lucky to see her everyday.
For Wood, his day-to-day consists of traveling throughout the district ensuring everyone is safe and where they're supposed to be.
"I start out the day starting in the car line and kids coming in the front...then the rest of the day I walk from campus to campus and just check in seeing if they need anything," Wood said.
From a young age, Wood said he's wanted to be a police officer and would often pretend to be one with his cousin.
"It's funny...me and my cousin used to play Starsky and Hutch and we both grew up to be police officers," Wood said.
Wood said he grew up in Shawnee, attended school in the area and is extremely happy to be protecting the community he's become so fond of.
"I like helping people. It's just such a blessing to be able to help and make a difference," Wood said.
"Just by getting to know the kids and letting them see that police officers are no different than mom and dad,”
In addition, the resource officer said he knows not only the students, but their parents are well since they were once students at SHS when he patrolled there.
"There's already that relationship that I've gotten with their parents that just runs over with these kids and their parents trust me because I had them and now having their kids it makes them feel like their kids are safe," Wood said.
Wood said he looks after a little over 900 students and it can be challenging at times.
"The only thing I would say is the early years of getting the older kids to trust you...they don't know who you are," Wood said. "So just getting to know them, (but) after all of that it was great."
Despite that however, the 54-year-old said he knows through his job he's made an impact.
"I get to look back in my career and I always used to say if you help one person in your life you've accomplished something,"' Wood said. "I can just sit back and say I've helped a lot of kids in their lives and it feels good to (know) you made a difference in a kid's life."
The resource officer said while it may have its hardships, he chose this position because he wanted to help the youth of Shawnee.
"I just wanted to try and make a difference in kids' lives because I know if we start at a young age maybe they'll make better decisions when they're older," Wood said.
Wood said by working at SHS he was also able to see his sons and help other youth in the area.
"Getting to be there for them for four years was amazing and I wouldn't trade it for the world," Wood said.
As time goes on, Wood said he's looking forward to the future, retirement and training the next resource officer.
"I want to hang out here for a few more years and make a difference here and maybe when I do retire I'm hoping I could come back part time and mentor the new police office that gets to come through these doors," Wood said.