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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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‘I have looked forward to every day’ of work
Marvin Woods retires after 27 years in law enforcement
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Staff Photo by K.A. Wagoner: Capt. Marvin Woods is sporting a new “uniform” for his retirement after a 27-year career in law enforcement and public safety. Although retired, Woods will continue as a firearms instructor at the police training academy.
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Friday, July 4, 2014

By K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writer

"I once got my butt kicked by an emu."

That was retired Capt. Marvin Woods' response to the most interesting day of his 27-year career with law enforcement and public safety.

Throughout years of tussling with dogs, cats, bears, coyotes, horses and cows as an animal control officer, it was a wrestling match with an 80-pound bird that caused the most injury to his body and his pride with constant teasing from his coworkers, friends and even his family.

"I learned quickly to never grab an emu from behind," Woods said, smiling. "They have a powerful kick.... Go for the head."

When called to a residence on Route 122 at Burnt Chimney, Woods attempted to tranquilize the bird to prevent it from getting into the road, he said. "That didn't faze the bird. Its metabolism was too fast."

So Woods decided to catch the 6-foot-tall bird by hand. To prevent the bird from kicking him anymore, Woods wrapped his legs around the bird and wrestled it into a nearby ditch. His partner, Stevie Lynch, attempted to tape the bird's legs together, but the bird "snapped the tape like a twig," Woods said.

Woods and Lynch eventually captured the bird using a catch pole, but not before Woods was covered in mud and feathers, not to mention bruises, cuts and scrapes.

Woods, who recently retired from the Franklin County Department of Public Safety as the captain of animal control, began his career in 1987 when he became a deputy with the Franklin County Sheriff's Office. He began working with animal control in 1994 and has been teaching at the Cardinal Criminal Justice Training Academy since 1997.

Well known for his ability with guns, Woods is a firearms instructor at the academy. He is also known for naming his weapons, like "Puff," the .22 caliber semiautomatic with a sound suppressor, and "Betsy," his favorite Remington .308 customized sniper rifle.

Woods is also a sniper and has been a member of the county's dive team, swift water rescue team and SWAT team. He is a lifetime member of the Ferrum Volunteer Fire Department and serves on the Ferrum Volunteer Rescue Squad.

Woods considers himself lucky to have had the opportunities his career has afforded him, including traveling all over the country for specialized training.

"It's the kind of training you hope you never have to use (like explosives and demolition)," he said. "But I am grateful for everything I have learned."

"I have experienced a lot of things some people would have given their pinky toe to have done," he added.

During his career, Woods discovered a Pitt Bull fighting ring at Log Cabin Estates in 2000, arrested a Callaway man after months of investigation into illegal sewage dumping in 2013, and discovered a moonshine still while looking for a fugitive from Pulaski County in 2009.

"Discovering the still was luck because of my gift of gab," Woods said. "The information I learned talking to the local folks from Endicott led us to Truevine Road, where the fugitive was found as well as a small still in an outbuilding."

"I was on Cloud 9 when I got home that day," he added. "We found drugs (several small pot plants), a fugitive and a moonshine still all in one day."

Despite the horrors he has seen over the years, Woods said he has no regrets in his career choices.

"It's one of those things, if you dread going to work, it's going to be work," he said. "I decided a long time ago to make work fun no matter what the circumstances, and I have looked forward to every day."

"But I have been on call most of my life," Woods added. "I want to feel like a human being with a normal life for a while."

Woods will continue to work as a firearms instructor at the police academy and remains an active member of the county's SWAT team.

The Franklin County Board of Supervisors recognized Woods last month with a resolution of appreciation for his "tireless energy, dedication, impeccable character and loyalty" to the citizens of the county.

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