In early May, the Houston Police Department added a new officer: A.J. Rodts.

Rodts, 21, is a Plato resident and a 2020 graduate of Plato High School. He is married, and he and his wife, Maggie (Cline), have two children: Alice (1) and Alan (2 months).

After graduating high school, Rodts was a teacher at Plato, instructing middle school computers and elementary physical education, as well as being head coach of the school’s boys basketball team and assistant coach for the high school squad. He also took an EMT course at Ozark Technical Community College in Springfield and ultimately entered the Law Enforcement Academy in Columbia, completing it May 3 and joining the HPD on May 8.

“Everything I’ve done in life has always been about helping people,” Rodts said, “and I’ve always been drawn to that. I thought this was a good way to help this community.”

Rodts is working nights under the guidance of Lt. Matt Woodmansee.

“A.J. is a hard-working, young officer that is eager to learn,” said HPD Chief Brad Evans. “He did a wonderful job in his completion of the police academy, and I routinely received positive comments from the academy director about his performance.  AJ is progressing through his field training period successfully and is always asking great questions. 

“We are happy to have him working with us, and I believe he will have a positive influence on our community.”

“I like this department a lot,” Rodts said. “I couldn’t think of a better work family; the guys genuinely care about you and how your family is doing, and I have a lot of respect for them. And if I have any questions, I can ask any of them.”

In addition to Evans, Woodmansee and Rodts, the HPD’s roster currently includes Sgt. Travis Thompson, School Resource Officer Josh Green, K-9 Unit officer Adam Stevenson patrolmen J.D. Jordan and Terry Wolfe, and cadet Lane Haley (who is enrolled in the Academy).

The phone number at the Houston Police Station is 417-967-3348.

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Contact him by phone at 417-967-2000 or by email at

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