What’s It Take To Be A Cop In Benson?

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• The search is still ongoing for a new officer.

By RICK CURL

Of The Record Staff

You see them as you drive down the street. You often call them when you need help, but what does it take to be a police officer?

The Town of Benson is currently searching for the next person to put on the badge and help keep the town safe.

Chief Kenneth Edwards, who has been the top cop in Benson for 15 years, believes it takes a special makeup to patrol the streets and keep the town safe.

“I think to be successful in law enforcement in general — not just in Benson — you truly have to have a passion for it,” he said. “It’s comparable, in my mind, to a professional athlete. You have to be willing to make sacrifices, you have to be willing to understand that the No. 1 aspect of this job is we are public servants.”

Chief Edwards says the top priority is making sure the needs of the public are met. Whether it’s something as simple as giving a person the proper place to go to have their problem taken care of, or making sure it’s done.

“A priority is to make sure that if one of the citizens has a need, whatever it is, I direct them to the right place or provide that level of service,” Chief Edwards said. “And safety is right there with that, that’s my primary focus.”

Chief Edwards says the person who puts on a police officer’s uniform must have the understanding and desire to make sure that service is provided.

“You have to understand that you have to be passionate about it, you have to want it,” he said.

Another trait Chief Edwards believes is needed in a police officer, not just in Benson but anywhere, is tolerance. Many times police officers are cast into a position where the events may seem ridiculous to them, but not to the person they are helping.

He stresses that each officer must have the frame of mind to consider that person’s viewpoint See Police, Page 3A

The Benson Police Department is searching for the next person to join the force. Officer Jared Jordan, above, joined two years ago. He has spent time as the animal control officer and doing other tasks as well.

Daily Record Photo/Rick Curl Police

Continued From Page One

and respect it, regardless of how they feel.

“Whatever is happening at the moment, whatever crisis I’m dealing with is the most important,” he said. “It might be a flat tire on my car, it may be a domestic situation I’m involved in, it may be a child custody case I’m involved in. Whatever it is, you might be dealing with those three things inside of 15 minutes of one another.”

For that reason Chief Edwards says flexibility is important.

He doesn’t stop there, he adds the reality of being a police officer in a small town adds different elements to the mix.

Inside the Benson Police Department there are many different parts. There’s the community policing officer, there are detectives, there are patrolmen, there are narcotics officers, and each officer on the department must be able to adapt on the fly and take one of the roles as needed.

It’s a difficult task, Chief Edwards admits, but he says it’s one that defines how a department such as Benson operates.

“You might find yourself in one of those roles in a short timeframe,” he said. “That’s what makes us unique. We have the opportunity to learn.”

“Some of the opportunities we’ve been presented with are very unique because of where we’re at,” the chief said. “We probably would not have had those opportunities anywhere else in the world.”

With all of that in mind, Chief Edwards believes the person who fills the spot on his force will need to be a very dedicated and special person.

Capt. Greg Percy, who is, for lack of a better term, Chief Edwards’ right hand, says the person who takes on the task will be a willing learner.

“Willing to learn,” Capt. Percy said. “You see a little bit of everything. You name it we’ve done it.”

Flexibility is perhaps the greatest of all traits a new officer must have.

Chief Edwards says flexibility is likely the most accurate of all definitions for the job. When police officers take the oath they make many sacrifices. Whether it’s not being home on Christmas and Thanksgiving or missing an anniversary or birthday because something happened or someone was in need of assistance.

The ability to deal with those sacrifices along with being able to serve the public without a second thought ties the full package it takes to be a cop together.

“To me, all those one-on-one interactions with the public make us a successful and desirable place to be,” Chief Edwards said. “If you can subscribe to those theories, then not only do I think you’ll do well as a police officer, but you’ll do well as a police officer anywhere. And you’ll be a pretty decent human being.”

He adds that mistakes are going to happen, it’s just the nature of not only the job, but of the people who do the job. It’s those who can overcome those mistakes, correct them and utilize the lessons learned and the skills taught, who are most successful.

“We’ve all made those mistakes, we’ve all done all those things, but if you get up everyday and realize we are public servants you’ll be fine,” he said. “It’s not just a law enforcement position. Flexibility is the biggest thing.”

More information can be found at the town’s website: www.townofbenson.com.

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