Like so many others, Anthony Woodard’s life and career path were greatly influenced by the events of 9/11. “I was a junior in high school, and I immediately felt like I wanted to do something to protect others,” he said. “I felt like it was my responsibility.” This desire led him to extensive conversations with military recruiters. There were other recruiters on his trail, however, based on his standout high school football career. He ultimately chose to play at Johns Hopkins, where he majored in international relations with an eye on a career in the intelligence community or federal law enforcement.
Woodard realized this dream, working first as a national security-focused consultant with Deloitte, then for over a decade as a Special Agent in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, where he worked cases with international implications including national security, money laundering, weapons trafficking, sex trafficking and child exploitation. His time with the department led Woodard to spend large stretches of time at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia, first as a student, then as a presenter and instructor on subjects including use of force, Constitutional rights, and safe entry tactics.
“I loved having the ability to help others,” he said, “and to be part of a team that could truly change people’s lives for the better.” Some of the most rewarding cases, he said, involved child exploitation and human trafficking. “You are dealing with real victims whose lives you are directly improving.”
Today Woodard is back home in Charlottesville as CEO of the family business, Woodard Properties. While he may be out of law enforcement, law enforcement is not out of him. That’s why earlier this year he joined the CPF board. “I really was looking for a way to help these officers and their families, especially at a time when there is so much negativity around their professions. They need all the help they can get. And this is just a little thing I can do, whether it is to identify critically-important training opportunities, or housing support.”
One of the things that drew him to the CPF, he said, was its focus on supporting the rank and file officers. “Having relied on the rank and file to get my back and to make sure that I get back to my family at the end of an operation, I understand the stress they are under, and the support they need.” One of the most important needs, he said, is training. “It is incredibly important that we offer real world scenario-based training. So many of the issues we are seeing across law enforcement today, including decisions related to use of force, can be traced to, and overcome with training. Having developed and delivered courses at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, one of the most internationally-recognized training centers of excellence, I am excited to work with my CPF colleagues on closing that gap.”