By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
An Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper remembered fondly in Enid died Saturday morning at Oklahoma Heart Hospital in Oklahoma City.
According to a press release from the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, Capt. Rodrick “Pete” Norwood, 42, died after a sudden illness.
Norwood is remembered with great respect by officers who worked alongside him.
Garfield County Sheriff Jerry Niles pointed to Norwood’s positive outlook.
“He’s a great guy,” Niles said. “He always had a smile on his face and was a true professional.”
Niles knew Norwood as far back as his own days as Waukomis police chief, before he became Garfield County undersheriff. That memory stretches back to Norwood’s rookie days as a 1995 graduate of the OHP Academy.
“He was here for quite a few years,” Niles said. “He developed into a good trooper. If you needed help, or I needed help, he was close by.”
OHP Lt. Ken Jordan said Norwood came to Enid immediately after graduating from the academy and was assigned to Garfield County from 1995 to 2000. Norwood was reassigned to public information officer duties at the Oklahoma City headquarters in 2000, then returned to Troop J in 2001.
“In 2004 he went back to the public information office, and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant,” Jordan said. “Eventually, he was promoted to the rank of captain, where he served in the highway safety office, then at Troop R, which is the state capital. His current assignment was legislative liaison working in the Department of Public Safety Commissioner’s office.”
Trooper Robert Cottrill, assigned to Grant County in Troop J, worked alongside Norwood for five years. He remembers Norwood as “a really good trooper and a nice guy.” Although Norwood had risen very high in the organization, he remained friendly to everyone he knew, Cottrill said.
“I saw him in January down in the city and he even remembered my wife’s name,” Cottrill said.
Norwood was a counselor for the academy class Cottrill attended in 2000.
“His job was to save us from the tac officers,” Cottrill said.
Cottrill said he was surprised by Norwood’s death, apparently caused by a heart attack.
“He was the picture of health,” Cottrill said.”He was younger than me and he was in good health. If you would have asked me to rate him on the scale of health I’d have put him at a 9 or 10.”
Trooper Jeff Stroud, now assigned to OHP bomb squad duties out of Oklahoma City, knew Norwood since Stroud was assigned to Troop J in 1997. The two were partners at Troop J.
“He was a very open and friendly guy,” Stroud said. “He made everybody feel welcome. He could meet a stranger who was having a bad day and make them feel good. I’d seen him do that with people beside the road, at Patrol functions, and outside of his work with the Patrol. He was just an open and friendly guy.”
Norwood loved his sons, Isaiah and Elijah, who still live at Kremlin, and sports, Stroud said.
“He grew up in Anadarko,” Stroud said. “He was big in sports in Anadarko, then played football at Oklahoma University.”
Stroud commended Norwood as a role model and a good ambassador for the agency.
At the time of his death, he was the Department of Public Safety’s legislative liaison at the Oklahoma State Capitol in Oklahoma City.
A memorial service is scheduled at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Anadarko High School Gymnasium. He graduated from the school in 1989, later attending the University of Oklahoma.
Norwood is survived by a wife, two sons and a stepdaughter.