© 2024
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Amid search for his replacement, suit against North Adams, Police Chief Jason Wood offers apology to loved ones

A police officer stands in front of a row of police cars and uniformed officers
Josh Landes
North Adams, Massachusetts Police Chief Jason Wood in 2020.

As North Adams, Massachusetts continues its search to replace him as permanent police chief, Jason Wood has posted an apology on social media.

Appointed chief in 2019, Wood was placed on placed on paid administrative leave in March pending an internal investigation into what North Adams Mayor Jennifer Macksey described as a non-criminal incident. Subsequently, Macksey said Wood would remain on leave through the end of his contract this month due to a loss of faith in his ability to lead as the result of an unspecified personnel issue. Sergeant Mark Bailey has taken over the department as interim chief, and Macksey said Monday the search for Wood’s permanent replacement remains ongoing.

Internal documents obtained by WAMC revealed that a tumultuous extramarital affair had become entangled with Wood’s work life, including an incident where Macksey herself responded on scene to a 911 call from Wood’s wife to their residence involving the situation.

In May, Wood sued Macksey and the city of North Adams for wrongful termination and breach of contract. Court documents include claims that he was fired without enough notice, that the city released confidential and personal information about him to the media in an effort to cause him emotional harm, and that he has suffered irreparable damage to his reputation in the law enforcement community as a result. They also reveal that Wood unsuccessfully petitioned to be demoted back to Lieutenant as opposed to being fired for his conduct as chief. Wood is being represented by attorney Timothy Burke of Needham.

For her part, Macksey has declined to comment on the suit or what led up to it.

On his personal Facebook page, Wood posted an apology to friends and family earlier this month.

In it, he said that in March, “cumulative actions that I took caused a relatively good life to come to a grinding halt. Actions that were derived out of selfishness.” Wood admitted to lying to those closest to him “without considering the fallout that would eventually come,” and said that he had “no excuses to give to justify.” Wood said that for years, even prior to recent events, “I painted a picture of my home life that wasn’t completely accurate. I was quick to blame my wife for my shortcomings. In reality, I was not a perfect husband by any stretch of the imagination.” In the post, Wood admitted to leaving his wife emotionally unsupported, a victim of scapegoating, and the subject of pain, suffering, and uncertainty he created for her.

“I can never take back what has been done,” Wood wrote. “When I look into the eyes of my wife, children, and family, I know I took something precious that can’t be replaced. Three months of painful self-reflection has shown me the person I was is not the person I should have been. My priorities and thought process were out of line. I can only hope to rebuild what I took away.”

After apologizing again for his lies to his loved ones, Wood offered a more direct apology to his wife, and finished the message with a commitment to “do what I have to do to attempt to fill the hole I dug for everyone that I pulled you into.”

Wood declined to comment on this story when reached by WAMC.

Wood, whose salary is over $91,000 for fiscal year 2023, will remain on paid administrative leave until the end of his contract on June 30th.

Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods.
Related Content