Recent federal stimulus programs make it easier to own a car, but it seems an even better way to secure a new ride is to get in good with Richmond Sheriff C.T. Woody.
Even as the Richmond Police Department faces renewed scrutiny of its vehicle fleet and assignment of its take-home vehicle program, little attention has been paid to the Richmond Sheriff's Office.
But office records obtained by Style Weekly show that nearly half of Woody's management-level officers are assigned a take-home vehicle. Of 60 sheriff's deputies holding ranks above corporal, 40 percent have take-home cars. Woody has two vehicles assigned to him, a marked Dodge Charger cruiser and an unmarked Ford Explorer.
Yet fewer than 10 percent of sworn sheriff's deputies, or 31 of 407, are assigned take-home vehicles. That's compared with 34 percent at the Richmond Police Department, where 255 of the 750 sworn officers have take-home vehicles.
At the Sheriff's Office, an additional 11 cars are assigned for take-home use to nonranking deputies involved in civil process or courts work.
Earlier this month, Richmond Police Chief Bryan Norwood announced that he'd begun phasing 28 vehicles out of his take-home program, saving an estimated $98,000 this year.
Calls to Sheriff's Office spokesman Jerry Baldwin were not returned by press time.
One particular officer in Woody's employ gets more than a set of wheels from his association with the sheriff. That's Woody's son, Maj. Clarence Woody, who had no police experience when he joined the office a little more than three years ago. He'd previously been a manager at a trucking company.
After quickly jumping up the pay-and-rank ladder in his first few months out of the academy, the younger Woody makes $67,225 a year, according to records obtained by Style. He's the seventh-highest-paid employee of the department and the highest paid of six deputies holding the rank of major. He makes more than four of the department's five lieutenant colonels, officers who outrank him.
Roger Moss, the highest-paid major behind Woody's son, makes $57,565 a year.