Winchester’s loss, Aberdeen’s gain –
By Patricia Beech –
Winchester Police Chief David Benjamin has accepted the Chief of Police position with the Aberdeen Police Department, effective May 16.
Benjamin says he had mixed feelings about leaving the village where he’s served as police chief for 10 years.
“To be honest with you, I couldn’t ask for a better place to work than Winchester,” he says. “The people have been so good to me and they’re more like family than anything else.”
“We hate to lose him,” said Winchester Mayor Bill Foster. “But we wish him the best of luck,”
Benjamin says initially he wasn’t interested in accepting a new position in a larger department with more responsibility.
“I started praying about it because I wanted to follow God’s lead, wherever that might be,” he says. “As time went by, I truly began to feel that Aberdeen is where I needed to go, then one morning last week I turned on my car and soon as I did a voice came over radio that said, ‘It’s time for a change in your life’. I felt that was God speaking to me, letting me know that it was time to make a change and do more.”
While he hopes to “do more” in his new position, Benjamin says he’s proud of the work his department has done in Winchester.
“I think we’ve done a pretty good job getting things in line,” he says. “The village is in a good place, the police department is in a good place, I really think that we’ve laid the right groundwork so whoever steps in to take over the chief’s job can be extremely successful.”
The call to be of service to the community is a common trait in Benjamin’s family. His great-grandfather, Eugene Fulton served two terms as Adams County’s sheriff; his great uncle Louie Fulton served three terms in the same position; his grandfather Larry Fulton was a police officer in Aberdeen and Ripley; and currently, his son Connar is preparing to go to work as a federal police officer for the Department of Defense.
He says the greatest lesson he’s learned while working in law enforcement is that “people are your greatest resource”.
“When I came to Winchester from Ripley I felt like I had to do my job 100 percent by myself, it was all about what I could do and the work I could put in,” he says. “I realized you can’t solve any crimes or move forward unless you have the help and support of your citizens, and the ability to work together with them.”
He hopes to use the same approach in Aberdeen.
“I know it’s going to be a lot of hard work, but I think we’re going to successfully do the same thing down there. I think you’re going to see the community of Aberdeen change,” he says. “It’s really not a police department change as much as it is a community change, and getting everybody on the same page to make sure we have a plan to succeed.”
Aberdeen’s mayor, Jason Phillips, is eager to welcome Benjamin to the village.
“David brings a lot to the table, and I know he’s going to be good to the people and good for the community just like he was in Winchester,” said Phillips.
Like many of Ohio’s small town’s, the drug epidemic has hit Aberdeen hard. Phillips says he believes Benjamin will bring positive changes to the village.
“I think David will be aggressive, he’ll be out there, hands on, and I think good things are going to happen for the village. We’re excited to get him here to be a part of our town.”