History of the Sheriff's Office- Click photo for more information
Since assuming command of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO), Sheriff Lafayette Woods, Jr has transformed JCSO into one of the most accountable, progressive, and respected public safety agencies in Arkansas through his dynamic and progressive leadership. As Jefferson County's 32nd sheriff and only the second African-American to serve in this capacity, Sheriff Woods brings a wealth of experience, unique skill set, and passion for public safety to JCSO.
As a 16-year veteran of JCSO, Sheriff Woods is guided by his philosophy of service above self. Under the command of Sheriff Woods, the JCSO consists of approximately 120 sworn and professional staff across nine divisions and two detention centers responsible for providing public safety to the 10th largest county by landmass in Arkansas. Sheriff Woods' passion and a strong belief that his 2018 Democratic candidacy for sheriff was the "Right Time, Right Reason, Right Choice" led to victory over two challengers in Jefferson County's 2018 Democratic Primary, making him the youngest sheriff in the State of Arkansas at age 37. He credits his success to God, family, and the citizens of Jefferson County who have shown their support, faith, and confidence in him to provide the utmost professional and ethical public safety services.
Upon taking office, Sheriff Woods immediately began utilizing his experiences as the catalyst for the implementation for forward-thinking policies to improve overall operations and trust within the communities JCSO serves.
Sheriff Woods began his law enforcement career in 2004 with the JCSO, where he was assigned to the Uniformed Patrol Division as a deputy sheriff, but quickly rose through the ranks.
In 2005, Sheriff Woods was re-assigned to the Tri-County Drug Task Force and tasked with investigating, disrupting, and dismantling drug trafficking organizations operations within Jefferson, Lincoln, and Arkansas counties.
In 2007, Jefferson County, Arkansas was designated a High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) by United States Congress through the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 to provide assistance to federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States.
In 2008, Sheriff Woods was promoted to the rank of sergeant and handpicked to be reassigned to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Little Rock District Office (LRDO) as a Task Force Officer; responsible for investigating, disrupting, and dismantling large drug trafficking organizations operating in and around Arkansas. As a collateral duty to his assignment at DEA, Sheriff Woods was also tasked with overseeing the JCSO's Internal Affairs Division, where he was responsible for overhauling new policies and procedures.
In 2009, while serving as a DEA Task Force Officer and head of JCSO's Internal Affairs Division, Sheriff Woods was promoted to the rank of lieutenant.
In 2010, Woods promoted to the rank of major and returned to Jefferson County to oversee major operations, public relations, support services, and courthouse security for the JCSO. Throughout his law enforcement career, Sheriff Woods has received over a thousand hours of specialized training from all over the country.
In 2019, Sheriff Woods was appointed by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson to serve on the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training (CLEST). His name was brought before the Arkansas Senate for confirmation in the General Assembly and gained confirmation without dissent. Sheriff Woods' appointment confirmation reasserts his commitment to understanding the mission of the CLEST to encourage increasing the professional competency of law enforcement officers in the State of Arkansas by providing standards of employment, training, and by conducting studies designed to improve the administration of law enforcement and implementing the CLEST regulations.
Sheriff Woods also serves on various other boards to include but not limited to the Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce Chairman's Club, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Career Services Advisory Committee, Pine Bluff Waste Water Utility Commission and the CASA Women's Shelter, where he continues to advocate on behalf of victims of domestic violence. Because of his work with domestic violence victims, Sheriff Woods was contacted in 2015 by Laura Webb; one of three victims' rights advocates and domestic violence survivors named Laura, who inspired the creation of a joint task force created to review constitutional amendments related to victim's rights. Sheriff Woods helped champion four key pieces of legislation that were placed into law and now utilized by all Arkansas law enforcement officers in their response to incidents of domestic violence.
Sheriff Woods is a member of West Rotary Club Pine Bluff, National Sheriff's Association, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, and the Pine Bluff Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated, where he serves as vice president.
Born, reared, and educated in Jefferson County, Sheriff Woods is a graduate of Pine Bluff High School. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the prestigious Liberty University in Lynchburg Virginia.
Sheriff Woods is married to LaTasha Woods and together they share two children; Jordan and Brea.
- 2017 Jefferson County Law Enforcement Officer of the Year presented by Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge
- Community Empowerment Council, Inc. Outstanding Public Service Award
- Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce Chairman's Club (Red Coats) Member of the Year Award
- Kathy Graves Leadership Award
- Two-time Meritorious Conduct Award Recipient
- Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Service Award
- Tri-County Drug Task Force Service Award
- Pine Bluff Police Department "Chief's Coin of Excellence"
- U.S. Attorney's Office Project Safe Neighborhood Coin of Excellence
- Arkansas Criminal Justice Institute's Law Enforcement Instructor Development
- Arkansas Leader, Session XX, U. of A. Criminal Justice Institute
- XXXVII (37th) Session of the School of Law Enforcement Supervision
- Federal Asset Forfeiture, DEA Quantico, VA
- Regional Counterdrug Training Academy, Naval Air Station Meridian
- Senior Law Enforcement Training Certificate
- Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy (ALETA)