The reins at the Denham Springs Police Department have been handed off from one veteran police officer to another veteran cop.
After a 37-year career in law enforcement, Chief Shannon Womack has retired.
“We’re blessed with the very little violence we do have in Denham Springs. I still remember my first year was rough. That was the year of the flood,” recalled Chief Womack.
Womack started with DSPD in 1985 as a cadet. When he turned 18, he became a reserve officer and eventually full-time at DSPD. Over the years, he climbed the ranks before being named as the police chief in 2016.
“I’ve put in 37 years into law enforcement and stressing daily but now, it’s time for us to go enjoy our lives the way we want to stress-free,” said Chief Womack.
Womack and his wife of nine years, Dee Womack, plan to buy a 45-ft. sailboat and sail the seas full-time. The two will sell their Denham Springs home and go wherever their hearts please to travel the world.
“We’re preparing to shop for a sailboat and start sailing the seas. It all comes down to the right boat for us. When we find the right one, we’ll buy it and take off. We will go wherever we want to go. We’ll start in the Bahamas but we can’t stay there long because you can’t stay there during hurricane season,” said Chief Womack. “This is our dream, Dee & I’s. We’re both water people, love traveling, love seafood. It’s just something we’ve wanted to do. I never wanted to retire and keep working. I certainly don’t want to be a cop anymore. It’s just not the best time to be a cop in this country. Anyone who is a chief anywhere lives with a specific fear.”
Chief Womack said it’s just the nature of police work in today’s day and age. But now, it’s something Womack will no longer have to stress about.
The incoming chief is Rodney Walker, also a veteran Denham Springs Police officer since 2001.
The 44-yr-old is married to Lee Rancher Walker of 18 years and the couple has two children, a 22-yr-old daughter and 11-yr-old son.
He was born in Northwest Louisiana in Bienville Parish but moved to Livingston Parish when he was two years old.
After high school, Walker moved back up to northwest Louisiana. He started working in a project engineer office with DOTD. Then in 1998, he started his law enforcement career in the Town of Ringgold in Bienville Parish.
“I always had a desire as a kid to be a police officer. I always had a calling to be a police officer. I originally got into law enforcement because I wanted to be a game warden. That’s how it started,” recalled Chief Walker.
After 2.5 years in Ringgold, Chief Walker said he was looking to find a place where he could make a career.
“Pay was really low in Ringgold and no benefits except for retirement. I started looking around, took a civil service test, and applied at several police departments and sheriff’s offices in both Bienville & Livingston parishes,” said Chief Walker.
Denham Springs Police Dept. offered him a job and in Feb. 2001, Walker started as a patrol officer.
“Once I got settled here, I loved it and I never pursued the game warden,” said Chief Walker.
Nearly 21 years later, he is now chief having worked his way up the ranks from patrol officer to corporal in five years, then sergeant 11 years later. In 2017, Walker moved to detectives where he remained until he was named chief after successfully taking the chief’s test.
“It’s different. I tell people all the time that I was good at being a policeman and a supervised policeman but the administrative police is completely different dealing with budgets and equipment and discipline, etc…It’s a different animal,” said Chief Walker. “I’m looking forward to serving the people of Denham Springs. I really enjoy and value opinions of everyone who works at the Denham Springs Police Dept. You will never get a “no” from me. If anyone has an idea of how things can work better, I’m not shy in taking advice. I don’t know it all and I don’t pretend to know it all. I learn every day. That doesn’t apply only to the department. This goes for anyone in Denham Springs. My door is wide open for you.”
Chief Walker said he spent most of his career working with outgoing Chief Womack and the two have had a great working relationship.
“I’m blessed to have been taken under his wing from early on. He really showed me the ropes the last couple of months so I wouldn’t be blindsided. I can still call him right now with any questions,” said Chief Walker.
“Rodney is going to do a fine job. He’s got the best training. I think he will pick up right where I left off and even improve some things. I have complete confidence in him as the new police chief,” said Chief Womack.
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