WATERVILLE — Police Detective Sgt. Michael Benecke plans to retire Jan. 31 after 25 years at the Waterville Police Department.
Benecke, 49, is scheduled to become museum security manager for the Colby College Museum of Art beginning Monday, Feb. 4.
Police Chief Joseph Massey said Benecke has been recognized for many accomplishments during his tenure with the department, most notably his management of the detective division, which earned a “stellar reputation” in the law enforcement community under his command.
“He now will face what I call a very distinguished list of retirees etched in Waterville Police Department’s history,” Massey said. “I’m certainly going to miss him as a very competent officer and supervisor and friend.”
Benecke said he will miss working with the people in his department, as well as with other city employees.
“They’re a great bunch of dedicated folks, but I’m also looking forward to the new challenges that my position at Colby College will provide, and to start the next chapter of my life,” he said.
Hired as a patrol officer in 1988, Benecke displayed a high level of leadership for a young officer, Massey said. He was promoted to sergeant after only four years, and in 2009 was promoted to detective sergeant.
Sgt. William Bonney, 36, has been promoted to detective sergeant to fill the vacancy that Benecke will leave, according to Massey.
Hired in 1998, Bonney in 2003 became the department’s first South End enhanced community police officer, a position that other departments throughout the state have emulated, Massey said.
In 2005 Bonney was promoted to patrol sergeant, and in 2009 he became supervisor of the Waterville Regional Communications Center. He returned to the patrol division in 2011.
During his time with the department, Bonney has been recognized by Gov. Paul LePage’s office for work on domestic-violence issues and securing grants for victims, Massey said. He also was instrumental in the development and implementation of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy’s Police Training Officer Program and is lead instructor for that program, according to Massey.
Bonney received the 2011 Veterans of Foreign Wars’ Law Enforcement Gold Medal Award, was inducted into the YMCA Inspirational Hall of Fame, was named Officer of the Year by the Exchange Club and was chosen as City Employee of the Year, according to Massey.
“I am very confident that Bill is going to continue to maintain the high standards of the detective division that Detective Sgt. Benecke has set forth under his direction,” Massey said.
Bonney said he is thrilled to accept the position and looks forward to working with professionals in the detective division.
“Attaining this position has been a goal of mine for many years, and to finally reach that goal is rewarding, both professionally and personally,” Bonney said. “I would also like to thank the previous detective sergeants, John Gould and Mike Benecke, for leaving me with a great division and setting an exemplary standard of leadership.”
Officer Brian Gardiner has been promoted to patrol sergeant, to fill the spot being vacated by Bonney.
Before coming to Waterville in 2005, Gardiner, 35, was a patrol officer with Skowhegan Police Department, Massey said. He said Gardiner is a team player who is well-liked and respected by his colleagues.
Gardiner was recognized for his response to a violent stabbing in the South End in 2006, when he brought calm to the situation and saved the life of a stabbing victim, Massey said.
He is the department’s emergency vehicle operation course instructor, as well as a department training officer.
Officer Joshua Woods, 28, was promoted recently to detective. Hired in 2007, Woods, also a police training officer, is a competent officer with excellent people skills, according to Massey.
Amy Calder — 861-9247