Benton

Every law enforcement department in the area has the same problem. In 2019 its hard to hold onto good officers.

When Chief Todd Jones began his tenure at the Providence Police Department in January, he was coming into a department that had just two certfied officers on the staff. The department also had a bit of a negative image, with two officers over the last two years being convicted of crimes.

Jones has worked to repair that image through a number of community outreach programs, including regular visits to Providence Elementary and handing out cookies to local children.

The PPD sent an officer, Carl Scheer, to the 20-weeklong DOCJT Law Enforcement Academy in Richmond. He graduated two weeks ago and joined the department as a certified full time officer.

This week, Issac Frias, who has been working for the department as a provisional officer for several months, began his 20-week program on Monday.

Things sound like they should be looking up, but Jones found himself with another opening last week after two-year veteran Matt Benton resigned to join the Webster County Sheriff’s Department.

“Matt is a great guy,” said Chief Jones. “I love him to death, and I loved his dad.”

Benton joined the Providence Police Department in June of 2017, follwing in the footsteps of his father, former police chief Archie Benton, who passed away in 2001. The elder Benton served in that position for 17 years.

The younger Benton heads to Dixon to replace Deputy Sheriff Kyle Green, who left Webster County for Hopkins County after less than six months as a deputy. That addition stills leaves the sheriff short handed as he had two other deputies leave for other counties earlier in the year.

The latest was former deputy Cory Patmore, who has yet to be replaced.

“The sheriff’s department is short staffed too, which makes it harder for me to get and keep good quality people,” said Jones. “But we’ll do the best we can with what we’ve got.”

Jones currently has patrolman Michael Tabor and Carl Scheer, as well as Frias, who is currently in the academy. That leaves him with enough budget for at least one other patrolman, as well as an assistant chief of police.

“I’m very selective when it comes to hiring,” Jones said. “We’ve got a good foundation here with these guys. Before I put the city in a bind, we’ll work overtime to get the job done. I’m not going to hire just anybody.”

 

Reach MATT HUGHES

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