Crothersville hires police officer



Two of Joe Christopher Wooten II’s life goals have been achieved.

He wanted to join the military, and he did that in 2016 and wrapped up his service with the U.S. Army in July 2020.

He also wanted to join a police force, and he’s getting ready to do that after being sworn in March 16 to serve as an officer with the Crothersville Police Department.

The 26-year-old Austin resident will work his last day at Pepsi in Austin on Friday and start as a police officer Monday.

“I’m excited, just really, really excited to be here,” he said. “I’m ready to do it, ready to get started.”

Wooten graduated from Austin High School in 2012 and then worked at a factory until pursuing his first interest: The military.

“My grandpa was in the military,” he said. “That’s the only one in my whole family, so he kind of influenced me, I guess.”

He went through basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia, and then was stationed at Fort Drum, New York, with the 10th Mountain Division. During his tenure, he was deployed to Afghanistan with the unit and did a lot of training and missions.

Wooten flew back to New York in July 2019 and spent another year there until returning home to Austin.

At that point, he wanted to pursue his second interest: The police force.

“As I was in (the military), the police force came up more and more often,” he said. “Then I had a lot of buddies that got out of the police force and went into the military and they told me.”

Wooten said he looked into police positions, but there were no openings at the time.

“My brother works at Pepsi in Austin, so he got me on at Pepsi, and I’ve been going there just waiting,” he said.

One day, his wife, Mindy Wooten, came across a job opportunity.

“She ended up texting me one day and saw a position open in Crothersville. I was like, ‘OK, here we go,’” he said, smiling.

Wooten applied for the job and went through the interview process, but another person was hired.

“They did say they were going to hire another, so I never got my hopes down,” he said.

Recently, he received the call he had been longing for, offering him the job.

“I was ecstatic,” Wooten said.

“He texted me while I was at work teaching. He said, ‘We have to have a serious conversation.’ I was like, ‘Oh my gosh!’” Mindy said, smiling.

Joe Christopher Wooten II, left, is sworn in as a Crothersville Police Department Officer by Clerk-Treasurer Staci Peters as his wife, Mindy Wooten, holds the Bible on March 16 at Crothersville Town Hall. ZACH SPICER | THE TRIBUNE
Joe Christopher Wooten II, left, is sworn in as a Crothersville Police Department Officer by Clerk-Treasurer Staci Peters as his wife, Mindy Wooten, holds the Bible on March 16 at Crothersville Town Hall. ZACH SPICER | THE TRIBUNE

Joe said he was making good money at Pepsi and wanted to get his wife’s opinion on the job change. Fortunately, she was in favor of it.

“I just want to be there and help out, and I’ve always looked up to them — to her and my kids — through everything, and they are always there to support me no matter what I do,” he said.

Initially, though, Joe said receiving the call from Chief Matt Browning seemed surreal.

“He told me it was going to happen, and I was still like, ‘Is it really?’” he said, smiling. “It still felt like that all the way until we got here (for the swearing-in).”

During the ceremony at the town hall, Joe placed his left hand on a Bible held by Mindy, raised his right hand and repeated the oath of office recited by Clerk-Treasurer Staci Peters.

“I like what the police force does, helping the community out and stuff. I just want to be a part of it,” Joe said. “I know there’s a lot of hate in the world right now. Maybe we can bring a little good back to it.”

In early April, he will start his 40-hour prebasic training. Then as soon as there’s an opening, he will attend the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in Plainfield.

He said he’s excited to get to know more people in the community. He’s familiar with some due to his family’s involvement at Church of the Lord Jesus Christ in Crothersville.

“We come to Crothersville a lot. This is pretty much our home, too. We’re at church all of the time,” he said.

“Everybody seems like good people. I’ve talked to them quite a bit. Everybody seems real friendly,” he said. “I’m looking forward to getting to know the people, interacting and learning more about what roads there are. It’s exciting. It means a lot.”

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Wooten file” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

Name: Joe Christopher Wooten II

Age: 26

Hometown: Austin

Residence: Austin

Education: Austin High School (2012); Ivy Tech Community College (technical degree in heating and cooling, 2013)

Military: Team leader and corporal in the U.S. Army (2016 to 2020)

Occupation: New officer for the Crothersville Police Department

Family: Wife, Mindy Wooten; children, Clinton and Sebastian


No posts to display