Lancaster County Deputy Sheriff William “Woody” Woodruff (Courtesy of LSO)

LINCOLN–(KFOR August 26)–Deputy William “Woody” Woodruff may be one of the more recognizable faces you’ll see around Lincoln.

The veteran of the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office has been a fixture at Nebraska athletic events and the downtown Amigos restaurant working off-duty security, with the younger patrons always calling him “Sheriff Woody.”

His career will be ending Thursday, after 47 years with the Sheriff’s office.  He’s done everything from dispatch, to a patrol deputy, criminal investigator and, for the past 20 years, a civil process deputy.

Regardless of the assignment, Lancaster County Sheriff Terry Wagner said “Woody” was always up to the task.

“He has embraced every assignment with the same enthusiasm, dedication and cheerful attitude,” Wagner told reporters on Monday.

Wagner says he and “Woody” go back more than 50 years, back to when they were seventh graders at Irving Junior High School (now Middle School).

“He and I were in the band together.  He played the trombone in seventh grade,” according to Wagner.

Deputy Woodruff was first hired by the Sheriff’s office as a radio dispatcher in 1972, before being commissioned as a deputy in 1975.

In his career, Woodruff was named Deputy Sheriff of the Year in 1997, along with receiving awards from the Downtown Lincoln Sertoma Club, Lincoln Board of Realtors, Capitol City Footprinters, Fraternal Order of Eagles and the American Legion Award honoring outstanding law enforcement officers.