Monday, February 9, 2015

Top-Ranking Crime Fighter Retires After 30 Years of Service

Tampa Police officers and community members came together to bid Assistant Chief John Bennett farewell from the department at one of his most cherished places, the Robles Park RICH House.  Known as the “Hammer and the Feather,” our Assistant Chief Bennett ruled with an iron fist to ward off criminals, while showing compassion towards the underprivileged and those in need of a helping hand.  Keeping the city safe was always on this behind the scenes leader’s mind.  He singlehandedly developed the security plan for the 2009 Super Bowl and worked around the clock to ensure officers and demonstrators were safe during the 2012 Republican National Convention.  His security plan for Gasparilla is used every year when pirates invade our city. Citizens can take comfort in knowing that many of his public safety plans and strategies will still be protecting our city long after he retires.

Assistant Chief Bennett balanced his passion for deconstructing crime with building positive relationships between the department and the community it serves.  A true believer in giving back, he co-founded the annual Badge Bowl challenge—a rivalry football game between police officers and firefighters which raises funds for families with children battling cancer.  He also rallied a group of business professionals through Leadership Tampa to volunteer their time and resources into transforming an abandoned recreation center into a state-of-the-art learning environment for at-risk youth.  Now, the Robles Park Resources in Community Hope (RICH) house provides tutoring and life skills to help keep over two dozen children out of trouble. 

Without a doubt this fearless, yet philanthropic leader will be missed at the Tampa Police Department and in the neighborhoods it protects.

Janelle McGregor

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