By Ret. Deputy Chief George Rutledge
After completing recruit training in 1964 I was assigned to the 3rd Pct. This is where I first met P.O. Harry Woods. Although Harry only had about a year on me, he seemed like an old salt. He was one of very few that would even bother talking to a rookie. That's how Harry was. No airs about him.
There were a lot of footposts then, and only the "hairbags" had steady radio car patrol. Harry was a fill-in on occasion and rode with the late Sgt. Joe Madden. And when roll call was real short, on rare occasions I would ride with Harry. Him and I seemed to have a lot in common. He was a real family man and rarely used profanity. He and his wife Dottie were inseparable love-birds.
As is common our careers moved in a different direction. Harry was called for the NYPD job. So he took a leave of absence from YPD and went on the NYPD. Within a year he resigned and was re-appointed to YPD. He told me, "they crazy down there (NYC), both the people and cops. It's much too dangerous."
In 1972 I was a desk Sgt. in the North command (4th Pct.) and Harry worked in the radio room dispatching. There were all Police dispatchers then. I enjoyed talking to Harry often on the hot-line. He was fourth on the current Sgt.'s list and waiting to be made.
It was Sept. 18, 1974 and Harry had driven down from his house in Peekskill to work the late tour. As was routine for Harry, about 10:30 pm he stopped in the A&P store at Nepperhan & Odell Ave. to pick up milk for the radio room. When he entered the store he knew something was wrong, and announced "what's the problem? I'm a police officer." At that point, a gun was pressed against his throat, was fired, and the bullet penetrated his neck, severing his spinal column. Seconds later the holdup team was gone, leaving Harry lying in his own pool of blood. Harry was in very critical condition and was placed on a respirator. Many officers and friends donated blood and visited Harry in the hospital.
Although everything possible was done for Harry, on Sept. 22, 1974 he died. Harry was only 34 years old, he left his wife Dottie and 3 young sons. Harry was a fine officer and a gentleman and will always be remembered....................."Lest We Forget"