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University Police Officer Enjoys Getting to Know Members of Charger Nation
Meet Richard Benson, a University of New Haven police officer and a 20-year veteran of the New Haven Police Department who has long looked up to his father, a retired New Haven firefighter.
April 23, 2021
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications
The lifeblood of the University of New Haven are the faculty and staff members who dedicate their lives to helping our students reach their goals. Periodically, we’ll introduce you to a member of the staff so you can learn more about them – beyond their day to day work.
Next up is Richard Benson, a University of New Haven police officer, who reflects on his career in law enforcement and discusses a special teacher who made a difference in his life.
Renee Chmiel: What are your favorite sports? Richard Benson: My favorite sport to play is football. I enjoy watching football, basketball, and boxing. My favorite pro sport teams are the Pittsburgh Steelers, Los Angeles Lakers, and New York Yankees. My favorite college teams are UConn and the University of North Carolina basketball team, as well as Clemson and University of Miami football.
RC: Tell us about your career as a New Haven police officer. RB: I served for 20 years as a New Haven police officer, retiring as a sergeant. I started my career in patrol on a walking beat implementing a community policing model. I had short stints in the detective division with Family Services and Narcotics. Shortly after those roles, I accepted a position as a School Resource Officer, and I had the pleasure of doing that for seven years. As a School Resource Officer, I served as the Police Athletic League Coordinator. I served as the detention booking officer as well as the detention supervisor after getting promoted to sergeant.
Some of my favorite memories with the New Haven Police Department are the relationships I built within the department and out in the community. Those relationships can never be replaced.
RC: What teacher was particularly influential in your life? RB: A teacher who was very influential in my life was my middle school gym teacher, Mr. Jackson. What made Mr. Jackson so important in my life was how he nurtured me as a young Black man. Mr. Jackson cared about the kids in the community, and I remember him opening the school gym in the morning before school so that some of us kids would have something to do and, ultimately, make it to school for the day. Because to him, if we were on time for open gym in the morning, we would be on time for school.
RC: What is one new thing you’d like to try? RB: I would love to try my hand at the game of golf. It appears to be a very challenging sport, and I welcome the challenge.
RC: What is the best career lesson you have ever learned? RB: There are several, but the best career lesson I learned is that in the field of policing you have to be honest, trustworthy, and you must treat people with dignity and respect. I learned this from observing my father, who’s retired from the New Haven Fire Department.
RC: What kind of music do you like? RB: I enjoy listening to gospel, old school R&B, and old school hip hop, and my favorite genre is old school R&B. Some of my favorite artists include Prince, Luther Vandross, Switch, and Dream Boy.
RC: What do you like best about working at the University of New Haven? RB: What I like best about working at the University of New Haven is how involved and included the University Police Department is with the students, faculty, and staff.