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Benfield named Boone Optimist Club Officer of the Year

BOONE—Sgt. Chris Benfield from the Appalachian State University Police Department has received the Boone Optimist Club’s Officer of the Year Award.

The award is presented annually by the Boone Optimist Club as part of Optimist International’s Respect for Law week, which has been held since 1965.

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Benfield has been a member of the university’s police force for nearly nine years. During that time, he has developed a reputation for being a highly competent and professional police officer who leads by example. He has amassed more than 1,000 training hours and is certified as field training officer and bike officer, and is a training coordinator for University Police’s Special Response Team (SRT).

In addition to his law enforcement duties, Benfield has been active in providing drug and alcohol education programs for students on campus. He created a PowerPoint program that has been adopted by many of his peers as the standard to use when conducting alcohol and drug education programs. His work with students in community policing has earned him accolades from university faculty and staff members.

During the past year, Benfield also distinguished himself as a valuable member of the department by coordinating, developing and conducting monthly SRT training. He was elected by his peers as an assistant team leader and instituted new training objectives that have not only increased training hours but have also improved the quality of the training provided to the SRT.

Benfield recently completed a multi-jurisdictional SRT 1 school, N.C. Justice Academy Leadership and Development course and a 150-hour certification course in tactical tracking.

A graduate of Jordan High School in Durham, Benfield enrolled in basic law enforcement training (BLET) at Mayland Community College in 2002. He was selected BLET class president and won the Top Gun honors of his class.

He graduated from BLET in May 2004 and worked as a reserve deputy for Avery County Sheriff’s Office before being hired as a police officer at Appalachian in November 2005.