Officer Jason Wooldridge

Liberty-Eylau Independent School District

Officer Jason Wooldridge graduated high school in Athens, Illinois, in 1988. Most of his family are farmers, so it was an understood expectation that every member of the family would help with chores around the farm. “When I was young, it felt good knowing that I helped my family and friends. It was a lot of fun learning to operate different equipment, work around livestock, and learn why it’s all necessary. Growing up as I did made law enforcement an obvious career choice,” Officer Wooldridge says. “As an officer, you get calls for a multitude of reasons and those people depend on your help. My coworkers also depend on my help, as I do theirs. At the end of the day or shift, you regroup and get ready to do it all over again the next day. There are many similarities between my upbringing and profession.”

In his youth, Officer Wooldridge enjoyed hunting, hiking, fishing, and playing sports, but when it came time to choose a career, he relied on his continuing desire to help and protect others. “My parents raised me to try and see the good in everyone and to do my part to help all people. Then, I spent eight years in the Army as a military policeman. My time in the Army taught me discipline, the need for rules/procedures, and the ability to protect people,” Officer Wooldridge says. “Those qualities guided me into law enforcement.”

Officer Wooldridge worked for the Texarkana Texas Police Department for 22 years before retiring. Now, he works at Liberty-Eylau Independent School District, where he has been for the last three and a half years, and throughout his career, Officer Wooldridge has learned that creating good relationships with the community comes from honesty, consistency, and respect. “I try to let the citizens I come into contact with know the rules and why they need to be adhered to,” Officer Wooldridge says. “Sometimes taking the extra moment to explain things will help people understand where you are coming from.” 

Strong communication skills have become even more important as Officer Wooldridge has transitioned into the School Resource Officer (SRO) position. “I will be the first to admit that I’m still learning and adapting to the ISD environment. But, I truly believe that most, not all, of the same principles apply,” Officer Wooldridge says. “Basically, it boils down to showing them that you really do care and want them to succeed.”

When people call for the police, it is usually because they are dealing with something tragic or completely unexpected, and for Officer Wooldridge, the most rewarding part of the job is to help citizens through these situations and try to provide them with a sense of relief. On the other hand, Officer Wooldridge says that the most challenging part for any law enforcement officer is to be able to separate their emotions from the job at hand. “There are times when a situation may remind us of something personal, so it’s vital to take our own experiences and emotions and not let them control the outcome. But, that’s not always easy to do, so I think of my own family,” Officer Wooldridge says. “How would I want someone to treat them if they needed help? We can’t get too involved in handling a call and jeopardize our career. My entire family depends on me and I don’t want to let them down. I don’t just mean my wife and children but also my brothers and sisters in Blue. We have to depend on each other on a daily basis, and sometimes our lives are at stake. I want to make sure we all go home safe and sound at the end of the day.” 

Family is extremely important to Officer Wooldridge. He is married to Sheena Wooldridge, and together, they have nine kids and four grandchildren, with one on the way. Their children’s names are Ryan Wooldridge, Mike Wooldridge, Tequila Rivera, Shakeala Perez, McKenzie Wooldridge, Kyesha Nelson, Sheyenne Porter, Peyton Porter, and Cyghan Porter. “My family means the world to me. I will do whatever it takes to make sure they are safe, healthy, happy, and have their own paths to success. They have always been supportive of my career and seem to enjoy knowing their father is a police officer. As with all kids, they need ‘encouragement’ from time to time, but, for the most part, they take care of business at school and at home. That helps me tremendously when I’m away,” Officer Wooldridge says. “They are not always happy about it, but they understand why I can’t always be at home when they are there or why I can’t attend every one of their activities. They have always supported me.” 

In the future, Officer Wooldridge would love to see Texarkana return to being the town that attracts visitors, a town that its citizens can be proud of. “I love Texarkana, but some things have changed. Texarkana needs more officers on its police force and more constructive activities for our youth. It is hard for Texarkana and Bowie and Miller County departments to ‘serve and protect’ if they are shorthanded. That also makes it difficult to interact with citizens if they are call-hopping or only meeting people on whatever calls they are sent to,” Officer Wooldridge says. “For our youth, there doesn’t seem to be many things for them to do away from school, and what we do have already in place needs more exposure and support. As for myself, I need to be more vocal on what has to be done to help our youth and our community. I have to educate myself on how to set the wheels in motion. In my opinion, it is going to take everyone to make Texarkana a place to be proud of.”

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