Ex-cop pleads guilty

Published 12:07 am Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The former Andalusia Police Department officer accused of trading prescription pills for sex pleaded guilty to a distribution charge Tuesday.

Joshua Chad Wood was arrested in 2008 at a local motel by Drug Task Force agents following an undercover operation. During the case’s preliminary hearing, testimony showed Wood was providing police “escorts” to known drug dealers in town to protect them from any other police contact. He was arrested after agents set up an operation to have Wood escort the two informants and 3 pounds of marijuana to a location inside the city. Testimony also showed that while inside the motel room, Wood was in possession of prescription pills, and it was alleged that he intended to trade those “pills” for sex.

Wood entered his plea before Circuit Judge Lex Short and received a 97-month sentence per a plea agreement. Wood has applied for probation, but no hearing date has been set.

DTF commander Mark Odom said he was relieved to get closure in the case.

“For more than 10 years, I have fought to eradicate drugs and arrest drug dealers in Covington County,” he said. “While I am glad to see Wood being punished for the crime he committed, the day I arrested him was one of the saddest days I ever spent on the job.

“Having to arrest another police officer is not an easy thing,” he said. “The whole situation has bothered me from the beginning, but I hope this shows everyone that (local law enfor-cement) will do our job regardless of who ends up in jail.”

District Attorney Walt Merrell said that he was pleased that this case has been resolved. “No law enforcement officer ever wants to arrest one of his own, but the officers who worked this case never wavered in the pursuit of justice,” Merrell said. “I hope the people of Covington County won’t let this one bad apple spoil the entire barrel, as we truly have fine, dedicated law enforcement officers working to keep us safe.”

Wood will remain free on bond until his hearing before Judge Short.