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Spencer police chief to retire

By Shavonne Potts
spotts@salisburypost.com
SPENCER ó Police Chief Robert Bennett announced Tuesday that he will retire in March.
Bennett shared the news Tuesday during a meeting of the county’s Law Enforcement Protocol Committee, saying he’s reached 30 years in law enforcement and felt it was time to retire.
Bennett has been with the Spencer Police Department since March 2003.
After retiring, Bennett said, he most likely won’t do anything for a while. But he has many other interests and hopes to find something to “piddle at” or volunteer work to keep him occupied.
Bennett joked that his wife is opposed to his retiring because she “doesn’t want me to hang around the house.”
When he does retire, it will be the end of three generations of law enforcement. His grandfather worked as a deputy sheriff and his father and uncle were both officers in Statesville, Bennett’s hometown.
His children have not gone into law enforcement, and that’s fine with Bennett. He told them they shouldn’t unless they were completely passionate about it.
“I didn’t feel it was up to my children to carry on the family tradition. It’s got to be something in your blood,” he said.
Law enforcement has changed over the years, Bennett said. There’s more paperwork, continuous training and education.
“Officers on the street have so much to remember and consider. It’s so much different than when I was on the street,” he said.
Bennett said he’ll take away great memories of the relationships he formed as he rose from patrol officer to sergeant, lieutenant and chief.
“I got to work with so many good people, over the years people who were mentors to me, people who helped me in my career, to becoming a chief,” Bennett said. “There’s a great group of people I’ve worked with who have made my job easy and enjoyable.”
Spencer Town Manager Larry Smith is one of those people, Bennett said.
Smith said the town will place local, state and national ads for a new police chief.
“A lot of times we may get a number of out-of-state applications,” he said.
“We are definitely going to miss all the years of experience he’s brought to the department. We are hoping to find someone who will fill those big shoes,” Smith said.
If the town hasn’t hired a new chief by the time Bennett retires, Sgt. Eric Ennis will serve as interim.
Before becoming chief in Spencer, Bennett had been the chief in Tryon and served as an officer in Statesville for 18 years.
“It’s been a great ride. I’ve loved every second of it. I hope what I decide to do, I enjoy it as much,” he said.

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