ABERDEEN, Ohio – Aberdeen Village Council named a new police chief at a special council meeting on Thursday, April 26.
David Benjamin of Ripley, Ohio, was named to the post after former Chief Fred Hampton left the village earlier in the month.
Benjamin is the former chief of the Village of Winchester Police Department and has 25 years of experience in law enforcement.
“I worked 10 years in Ripley and was a lieutenant there for a while,” Benjamin said. “I’ve been either a lieutenant or a chief for 17 years.”
Benjamin said his expertise has always been in drugs and working against the narcotic problem.
Benjamin said he expressed interest in the job when he was selected to help the village find a new chief.
“I started thinking about it,” Benjamin said. “I grew up with Jason (Mayor Jason Phillips) and I know a lot about him. I thought ‘you know, maybe this is a good time to make a change in my career and maybe I can make a bigger difference.’”
Benjamin said he’s been with the Winchester Police Department for 10 years and felt like they were in a good place.
“I felt like Aberdeen needed the help that maybe I could provide,” Benjamin said. “It was just perfect the way things worked out.”
Benjamin said the drug problem is the biggest threat he’s looking to tackle.
“Your drug problem is going to be about 70 percent of what you’re dealing with,” Benjamin said. “It all kind of combines there. That’s the center of your trouble.”
Benjamin said he thinks he has the expertise to be able to help the village with its drug problem.
“I think there are some tools that we used in Winchester that we used that I can bring to the village,” Benjamin said. “We have some things computer wise that can make information a little quicker. Those things will help out a lot with the police department here.”
Benjamin also said he is looking to build a tight relationship between the police department and the community.
“As a police officer, you can drive around all day long but if they don’t speak with citizens they’re not going to build a relationship and they’re not going to get any information,” Benjamin said. “If you grow that respect and trust it’ll go a long way.”
Benjamin said that short-term he wants to work on upgrading the police department’s technology and reach out to citizens.
“We need to find out what it is they want and need out of their police department,” Benjamin said.
Long-term, he wants the Village of Aberdeen’s police department to become a 24-hour coverage department with expertise.
“Maybe down the line being able to add a canine unit or a part-time detective,” Benjamin said.
Benjamin’s last day as police chief in Winchester will be May 15. He will start in Aberdeen immediately after, but he said he wants to come down beforehand to get a feel for the department.
“I want to see what I have to work with,” Benjamin said. “I want to talk to my officers and see what some of their concerns are. I want to know what they need me to bring. What is it I can do to help them?”
Phillips said that out of all the candidates, Benjamin was the best fit for the village.
“I know how aggressive he’s going to be,” Benjamin said. “I know he’s going to make a difference in the village.”