Drew Walkington, a lifelong resident of Woodstock, fulfilled a childhood dream Jan. 2 when he was sworn in as the newest officer of the Woodstock Police Department.
Walkington, 24, graduated in 2011 from Woodstock High School, where he wrestled and played football. He attended North Park University where he continued to play football and studied criminal justice.
According to Police Chief John Lieb, members of the department believe Walkington is the first new officer at the department in “quite some time” to have been born and raised in Woodstock, and the only current, active-duty officer of the department who is originally from Woodstock.
“It’s an honor and a blessing,” Walkington said. “I think it will be a humbling experience to serve the community that has brought me up into the man that I am today. I hope to make a positive impact to the department and the other officers.”
Walkington’s father, Matthew, was an auxiliary officer in Woodstock for more than 11 years, and his career in law enforcement influenced Walkington’s decision to pursue it for himself.
“I looked up to him and grew up around many of the officers in Woodstock, all positive influences. This is something I wanted to do ever since I could remember, since I was a little kid,” Walkington said.
After being sworn in, Walkington is headed to training in Springfield at the Illinois State Police Academy. The 480-hour training encompasses a wide range of subjects, including firearms, Illinois Vehicle Code, civil rights and civil liability, and physical training.
Once he returns from the academy, he will be sworn in at a City Council meeting by Mayor Brian Sager and then begin months of training with various field training officers, a standard process for all new hires to the department.
“It’s a pretty extensive process. When we hire someone, by the time they return from the academy and are ready for solo patrol, it is approximately six to eight months,” said Deputy Chief Jeffrey Parsons.
“When I graduated from Woodstock High School, in the yearbook it asked where I saw myself in five years. I said I would be a Woodstock Police officer, and here it is five-and-a-half years later,” Walkington said.
Walkington and his wife, Deanna, who were married in 2016, live in Woodstock with their dog, Riley. Deanna works for Centegra Health System as a pharmacy technician. In his spare time, Walkington enjoys fishing, snowboarding, archery and spending time with his family.
Also recently sworn in as an officer was Thomas Nickels of Winfield.