Mayor Robbie Skinner, right, honors Darrell Bennett, who is joined by his wife, Patty.
Mayor Robbie Skinner, right, honors Darrell Bennett, who is joined by his wife, Patty.

City of Buckhannon honors retired police officer Darrell Bennett

BUCKHANNON – The City of Buckhannon recently honored retired Buckhannon Police Lieutenant Darrell Bennett during the Fourth Annual Web Grubb Police Officer Recognition Day.

The annual day of recognition traditionally takes place on the Wednesday during Strawberry Festival week.  

“Back in 2017, our initial honoree was Webb Grubb, who was the only city police officer to ever be killed in the line of duty, so we honored him and remembered him that year, with our flag and our blue wall,” Buckhannon Police Chief Matt Gregory said. “Each year after that, we recognized a city police officer who has made significant contributions to the Buckhannon Police Department, as well as to the citizens of the City of Buckhannon.”

Gregory said the city was unable to hold the ceremony last year due to COVID-19, but this year they were happy to welcome Darrell Bennett and his wife, Patty.

“I began my career here in 1997, and Darrell was the lieutenant at the time,” Gregory said. “As far as I can see in the records, I believe that Darrell was the second city police officer to actually retire from the Buckhannon Police Department. We’ve seen a lot of officers come and go over the years, and that distinction still stands — you and Keith are the only two who actually retired from the city police department, and that’s remarkable that you chose to spend your career here.

“Patty, as a police wife, knows it’s a commitment. It’s not just a job, it’s not an eight hour day — it’s your whole life. You commit to the department and the community, and I’m personally grateful for that as an officer and as a community member.”

Mayor Robbie Skinner thanked Bennett for his years of service to the BPD.

“We’re certainly proud to honor you today, and once again we thank you for your dedication and service to this community, both in the past and currently today,” Skinner said. “There are a lot of folks who come together to make Buckhannon what it is. It’s not just one person, it’s not just one group — we’ve always thrived because we’re a community together, and our police department, our fire department, our public works, everybody has a hand in that. But today we honor our police department, and you, sir, were certainly a big part of that over the years.”

Buckhannon Police Chief Matt Gregory
Buckhannon Police Chief Matt Gregory

Here’s the full proclamation:

Whereas our community is very proud and supportive of our police officers who serve and protect all of us while placing their lives in the line of duty every single day during challenging times and the uncertain shifts they work.

Whereas the City of Buckhannon in 2017 resolved to annually recognize, honor and pay tribute to all police officers on each Wednesday during the annual West Virginia Strawberry Festival, and on May 17, 2017 specifically, recognized Webb Grubb, the only city police officer with the City of Buckhannon to ever die in the line of duty, who gave his life for our community on April 21, 1940. Then in May 2018 we recognized former BDP lieutenant Keith Rowan and in May 2019 recognized former city police chief, Fred Gaudet.

Whereas our city government family and police department will celebrate the Fourth Annual “Web Grubb Police Officer Recognition Day,” to be conducted on our city’s Public Safety Complex, beginning at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 12 and our B-U community is proud to recognize our fourth recipient, retired lieutenant, Darrell Bennett, as our 2021 Webb Grubb honoree, and encourage our all of the lieutenant’s family members and former police officers that served with him and admirers, as well as those of Officer Grubb, and further all police officers during this fourth annual tribute to celebrate all through a fallen and all who have served our community.

Whereas our city further shall dedicate its wall of blue standing right behind me, and honor and tribute to the officer Webb Grubb, Lieutenant Keith Rowan, Chief Fred Gaudet, Lieutenant Darrell Bennett and all future honorees during “Web Grubb Police Officer Recognition Days” to come.

Now, therefore, I Robert Neal Skinner III, Mayor of the City of Buckhannon pursuant to the power and authority duly invested in me, do hereby proclaim Wednesday, May 12, 2021 to be Webb Grubb Police Officer Recognition Day throughout our City of Buckhannon. I further proclaim that our city’s 2021 fourth annual honoree shall be Lieutenant Darrell Bennett, who served the Buckhannon Police Department from 1982 to 2005. I hereby direct the installation of a wall suitable for the installation of placards to be located along Webb Grubb lane, located in our public safety complex to forever honor and recognize Lieutenant Darrell Bennett, together with Wilbert Webb Grubb, Lieutenant Keith Rowan and Chief Fred Gaudet and all police officer honorees for their gallant service in protecting all of us in our Buckhannon-Upshur community.

I urge all of our residents and festival visitors to join the family and friends of our 2021 honoree Lieutenant Darrell Bennett, together with all of our area police officers, the family of Officer Grubb and me, along with other members of our city government family and friends, near and far, at our fourth annual “Web Grubb Police Officer Recognition Day.” May every Wednesday during Buckhannon’s annual West Virginia Strawberry Festival now and always be known as Web Grubb day in honor and memory of our late fallen police officer, and further in tribute to and appreciation of the dedicated public service of all of our B-U community’s Police Officers.

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