St. Clair Shores Police Chief Todd Woodcox retires

Deputy Chief Jason Allen to fill interim position

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published June 22, 2021



ST. CLAIR SHORES — With no immediate plans but to spend the summer with his family, Police Chief Todd Woodcox is retiring from the St. Clair Shores Police Department, where he has served since September 1992.

Woodcox first became eligible for retirement about four years ago but participated in the Deferred Retirement Option Plan, or DROP, to remain in his position. City Council voted to extend his DROP period again in August 2020 to avoid having then-Deputy Chief Gary Crandall and Woodcox retire in the same year. Crandall retired in April.

“I could stick around until April of 2023,” Woodcox said. “Council made that offer to me.

“It really impacted me when (Clinton Township) Chief Fred Posavetz died. He could have left a few years ago and spent much more time with his family, but he chose to stay and work, and I just got to thinking about my priorities.”

Posavetz, 64, died March 22 from complications associated with COVID-19, according to a report from C&G Newspapers. He had served with the Clinton Township Police Department since 1980, and had been chief since 2007. Posavetz’s last contract was extended in 2018 and would have concluded in June 2021.

“God has blessed me with the ability to retire, spend time with my family,” Woodcox said. “I’m in a position where I don’t have to work this summer, and I can take the entire summer off and spend a great time with my family.”

Woodcox and his wife, Regina, have four children ranging in age from 11 to 24 years old, three of whom live at home.

Jason Allen, who was promoted to deputy chief April 5, is now the interim chief of police. Paul Plaza, who was a lieutenant, is now the interim deputy chief.

“Jason has, absolutely, proven himself to be an outstanding leader. He’s well-versed in many areas of the department,” Woodcox said.

He said they have spent the past six weeks getting Allen up to speed on various administrative aspects of the position.

City Manager Matthew Coppler said they would use the interim period of a few months to see if the city wants to do a full search for a new police chief, “or if we have the right guy already.”

Mayor Kip Walby said he enjoyed working with Chief Woodcox for the past seven years. He praised Woodcox’s leadership and how well he worked with City Council.

“You’ve done excellent work getting out to the public,” he said. “You’ve really changed that department there.”

Walby said Woodcox’s influence was visible in the fact that, as police reform is taking place, the St. Clair Shores Police Department already meets the newly mandated criteria.

“When you’ve got good leadership, it makes these jobs much easier. Enjoy retirement. You earned it,” he said. “You ran the department well. We appreciate it.”

Woodcox said the appreciation was mutual.

“I can’t do this job alone over there,” he said. “The mutual support that we have in this city is unmatched anywhere, and the officers see that. People from other agencies want to come work for St. Clair Shores because the residents support their police department, council supports the police department.

“I could not be more thankful for all of the people I’ve been able to work with.”

Woodcox has done a good job shepherding the department through some difficult times, Coppler said.

“He’s helped build the department into one that people want to come work for. The men and women who put on the uniform are proud to wear the uniform,” he said, adding that residents appreciate everything their police department does for them. “That’s a testament to his skills, his abilities, his passion to make this the best community it can be.”

Allen said that, although he has been ready to step into the chief’s shoes and fulfill his duties when Woodcox is away, he has only been deputy chief for a short period of time.

“Time-wise, this was not the route I anticipated, but I’m going to step up and do my best,” he said. “He was a great mentor and example to follow, and I want to keep going down that same path he’s taken with our community.”

Allen, who has been with the St. Clair Shores Police Department since 1994, said he wants to continue to provide the same great level of service residents have come to expect from the St. Clair Shores Police Department.

“Things have been running very well under his leadership, and I’ve always been under that leadership and seen how he does things,” he said, explaining that he will likely begin his tenure as interim police chief by continuing in the same vein. “Especially at the outset here, there won’t be many changes made.”

Woodcox’s last day was June 9.

“I’m looking forward to taking advantage of this opportunity. Most people never get this chance,” Woodcox said. “I love anything to do with the outdoors. I enjoy boating. I enjoy fishing, but most of all, I just enjoy spending time with my family.”