Sheriff Lafayette Woods Jr.
Sheriff Lafayette Woods, Jr. is the 32nd Sheriff of Jefferson County and a 15-year veteran of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. Under his command, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, which consists of approximately 120 sworn and professional staff across nine divisions and two detention centers, provides public safety to the 10th largest county by landmass in Arkansas. Sheriff Woods' drive 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 May 22, 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.
As Sheriff, he initiated reform efforts that have improved and continues to improve morale within the sheriff's office, as well as the trust within the communities which the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office serves.
Sheriff Woods began his law enforcement career in 2004, as a deputy sheriff with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, where he was assigned to the Uniformed Patrol Division.
In 2005, he 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.
As a result, in 2008 Sheriff Woods was handpicked and reassigned to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Little Rock District Office as a Task Force Officer. He served in that capacity in addition to the collateral duty of heading up the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office-Internal Affairs Division tasked with implementing new policies and operating procedures. In 2009, while serving in dual roles Woods was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. In 2010, Woods promoted to the rank of major and returned from Little Rock back to Jefferson County to oversee major operations, public relations, support services, and courthouse security for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. Throughout his Law Enforcement career, Sheriff Woods has received over a thousand hours of specialized training from all over the country. He also serves on many boards and commissions to include his most recent appointment by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson to the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training (CLEST).
Throughout his law enforcement career, Sheriff Woods has received over a thousand hours of specialized training from all over the country. Sheriff Woods serves on many boards and commissions to include the Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce "Chairman's Club," Youth Partners, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Career Services Advisory Committee, West Rotary Club Pine Bluff, National Sheriff's Association, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), NAACP, and the Jefferson County Central Democratic Committee.
Sheriff Woods also serves as a member of the board of directors for CASA Women's Shelter, advocating 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. Webb was run over with a truck by her estranged husband and left for dead in 2012 near Mt. Magazine in Arkansas. She suffered great physical injuries and underwent multiple surgeries.
Sheriff Woods along with two Arkansas legislators, Rep. Charlotte Douglas R-Alma and Rep. Bob Ballinger R-Hindsville joined together at the Arkansas State Capitol to begin their review and make recommendations to Arkansas' legislative body.
After meeting for several months, four laws concerning domestic violence were passed in Arkansas. Act 873 created a tool of resources known as "Laura's Card," that law enforcement in Arkansas can provide to victims of domestic violence. An explanation of the victim's rights along with information about medical, housing, counseling, financial, social, legal and emergency services available will be on the card. Information about obtaining compensation under the Crime Victims Reparation Act is also included.
Act 877 requires Arkansas law enforcement officers to conduct a lethality assessment, asking victims a set of questions to assess their level of risk of being killed by domestic violence. Also known as "Laura's Law," Act 877 will help officers identify victims most at risk of being killed in a domestic dispute and intervene accordingly.
Act 952 requires Arkansas schools to include domestic and dating-violence in health curricula.
Act 876 allows for victimless prosecution of domestic-violence cases. The law gives prosecutors and law enforcement power to investigate and prosecute domestic violence crimes without requiring the victims to testify.
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 a member of 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, CASA Women's Shelter Board of Directors, West Rotary Club Pine Bluff, Arkansas Sheriff's Association, National Sheriff's Association, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), NAACP, and the Jefferson County Central Democratic Committee. Sheriff Woods is a member of the Pine Bluff Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated, where he serves as Vice Polemarch and chairman of the Reclamation Committee.
Sheriff Woods is the son of retired educator Gwendolyn Woods (mother) and retired United States Army Veteran Sergeant 1st Class Lafayette Woods, Sr., who serves as the Jefferson County's Circuit Clerk. He is married to LaTasha Woods and together they share two children; Jordan and Brea.
- B.A. Criminal Justice ‘04
- Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) ’19
- Jefferson County Law Enforcement Officer of the Year presented by Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge ‘17
- Community Empowerment Council, Inc. Outstanding Public Service Award ‘17
- Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Club (Red Coats) Member of the Year Award ‘16
- Kathy Graves Leadership Award ‘13
- 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 ‘16
- Arkansas Leader, Session XX, U. of A. Criminal Justice Institute ‘11
- XXXVII (37th) Session of the School of Law Enforcement Supervision ‘11
- Federal Asset Forfeiture, DEA Quantico, VA ‘09
- Regional Counterdrug Training Academy, Naval Air Station Meridian ‘05
- Senior Law Enforcement Training Certificate
- Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy (ALETA) ‘04