Rest In Peace Colerain Twp. Officer Dale Woods

When you give 30 years to a community, they claim you as theirs.

Dale Woods already belonged to the Colerain Township community, though. He is one of theirs. He is a Colerain High School graduate. He played on the drumline. He raised his family here. He served as a firefighter here. And he serves as a police officer here. It's what he was doing Jan. 4, when he was hit by a pickup truck on Colerain Avenue directing traffic at a crash scene. He died Monday evening.

"What you saw was not always what you got," said Battalion Chief Steve Conn, who worked with Woods on the Colerain Township Fire Department. "He seemed like a quiet guy. But he loved loud heavy metal music. Five Finger Death Punch. Godsmack. He would jump into a mosh pit without reservation. He did not act his age."

Conn said Woods was a consummate police officer. "We gave him grief about leaving the fire service for 'the dark side' but he loved being a police officer."Although he left the fire service, he stayed close to hs firefighting brothers and sisters. Conn said it was not unusual to come back from a late night squad run to find Police Officer Woods raiding the fridge and having a midnight snack. He liked to prank firefighters, too. One station complained they were short on cups and utensils. Woods heard the complaints, and on the next shift, there were plenty. But a different firehouse complained they were short. Woods was moving them around, station to station.

Retired Police Lt. Angela Meyer said she worked with Woods until her retirement in 2014. "Dale is a good man," she said. "He has always been. He is a strong, faithful man, and always fair."When she worked with him, she says he was never one to make a snap decision. "He always listens to people's stories," she said. "He considers what they have to say before he decides the next step." She described Woods as someone who always looks out for others. "He's always the first to step up to help other people," she said.

He had a sense of humor: His Facebook page, which he maintained under another name, as police officers sometimes do, lists his profession as professional golfer. "He loves golf," Meyer said. "If he can beat you in a game of golf, he is a happy man." She said he has a reputation for professionalism on the department. "We always teased him about being our poster boy," she said. "He is meticulous about everything on his uniform, and is always professional in everything he does."

Meyer said Woods also worked with the North College Hill police and fire departments for a while. "He backed me up one night when he was working with them," she said. He also worked for the Hamilton County Communications Center before becoming a firefighter.

Assistant Fire Chief Will Mueller has been friends with Woods since the two met in 1986, two ninth graders playing on the Colerain High School Marching Band drum line. "He went to Colerain Junior High School and I was at White Oak," Mueller said. "I always say any friendship that starts in music is a bond that lasts forever, because music is eternal. It felt like that." Mueller said Woods recently picked up the drumsticks again, buying a new kit and playing. "I was glad to see him getting back into it," he said.

Conn said Woods was a good officer and a good friend. "He is a hometown boy," Conn said. "Colerain is big, but it's still got a little bit of Mayberry: People here back their police department and their fire department. It's everywhere you look."

Officer Dale Woods at the Greater Cincinnati Regional National Fallen Firefighters Golf Outing with his Fire Department Family