New police chief to be sworn in

Published 10:37 pm Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Suffolk’s new chief of police will be sworn in on Thursday, and the public is invited to attend and meet the new chief.

Thomas E. Bennett will be sworn in by Clerk of Court Randolph Carter at Booker T. Washington Elementary School at 3 p.m. The school is located at 204 Walnut St., off of E. Washington Street. A reception will follow in the school’s cafeteria.

Bennett will begin work on June 15.

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Bennett’s hiring was announced in May. The city began a nationwide search for a new police chief in November, when former chief William Freeman announced his retirement. Thomas Townsend, a former Hampton police chief, has filled the post in the interim.

Bennett began his law enforcement career in Newport News in 1984 as an auxiliary officer, and worked his way through the ranks to become deputy chief in 2005.

He has served on several different special units and task forces, including major crimes investigation, anti-crime task force and vice and narcotics. When he became deputy chief, he was responsible for criminal investigations, crime analysis, intelligence, records, property and evidence, and training, among other things.

Bennett was responsible for the development of the department’s COMSTAT process, weapons of mass destruction planning and training, terrorism response plan, sniper response plan, hurricane response plan, radiological response plan, alternative dispatch center, Motor Carrier Safety Unit and other innovative programs.

Bennett lived in Suffolk during part of his childhood, as well as from 1996 to 2003. His mother currently lives in Suffolk. Bennett and his wife, Diana, have three children: Rebecca, Emily and Matthew.