Cumberland’s new police chief is breaking barriers

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CUMBERLAND, IN-- Cumberland’s new police chief is breaking barriers in more ways than one.

In October the Cumberland Metropolitan Board of Police Commissioners unanimously voted to appoint Suzanne Woodland as chief. Woodland has been interim chief since April.

Woodland, who has been with the department for 11 years, is not only the first woman to ever serve as chief for Cumberland, she’s also the first Cumberland officer to be promoted to chief from within the ranks. Two distinctions that Woodland says she never would have imagined years ago.

“I had no intentions of waking up and going “I want to be a police chief.” I just wanted to be a police officer. And here I am,” she said.

While she never intended to be chief, the job is in her blood. She’s the daughter of former Cumberland chief Michael Crooke who retired from the department earlier this year.

“I was given his actual badge that he carried so that meant a lot. And here I am getting to build my own legacy off of what he’s built,” she said.

With her promotion, woodland now joins one of the smallest groups in all of law enforcement. A recent survey found that out of the more than 1,500 police departments across the country, only 169 were led by women. Woodland says she feels honored to help set an example for young girls, but also doesn’t want to be known as a “female police chief.”

“ All I’ve done is the same thing everybody else has done, just work hard and do the right thing,” she said.

At the end of the day, Woodland says she wants her legacy to be defined by who she is, not just what she is.

“I hope people remember me for how I treated them and how I made them feel. And not just what I’ve done,” Woodland said.

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