CUMBERLAND, Ind. (WISH) — For the first time, a woman has taken the top spot in the Cumberland Police Department. Chief Suzanne Woodland said being chief wasn’t necessarily one of her dreams, but now that she’s here she’s on a mission to keep building on a family legacy.
“This is beyond any wildest dream I’ve ever thought of,” Woodland said.
Over the last 11 years, Cumberland PD has been home for Woodland. She’s served the last few months on the job as the department’s first woman chief.
Woodland comes from a family of police officers. Her grandfather, uncles and brother have all served as officers, and her father is Cumberland’s former police chief Michael Crooke.
“So when this happened it was bittersweet,” she said.
In a way her father passed her the baton. When he retired, the police commission named her interim chief before ultimately making the move permanent.
“He has gotten Cumberland from where it was until this point and I just want to keep the momentum going,” said Woodland.
She said while trying to keep momentum there are a few things that stick out in her mind. In December 2018 she investigated a homicide at the Cumberland Dollar General.
“That murder happened and then a month later my partner committed suicide so that was a horrible, horrible time,” she said.
As she mourns her partner, she hopes to see more mental health resources for officers.
“Don’t limit yourself, don’t put yourself in a box.”
In the meantime, while she never imaged herself as chief, it’s a reminder that life comes at you fast so be ready for it.
Woodland says as the community grows, she hopes the department can grow along with it. In the coming years she’s hoping to add a few more positions to the force.