Benton Police Department will, for the first time in more than 40 years, be sending an officer to the Department of Criminal Justice police academy after hiring a 21-year-old Marshall County native to the force.
Officer Keegan Cole was sworn into duty last week and began training with the department immediately following. Benton Police Chief Jeromy Hicks said while Cole awaits training at the academy, he will begin studying policies and procedures, filing reports, riding along with his fellow officers on each shift and spending time in the judicial building meeting attorneys and familiarizing with court proceedings.
"It's not that we didn't have anyone interested in the position that we wouldn't have had to send to the academy, we just didn't want to miss out on this opportunity to have Keegan on our team," Hicks said. "He's a good man and he's going to make a great officer."
While attending Marshall County High School, Cole said he worked part time at with Benton's parks department and following graduation, moved into a part time position with the city's maintenance department. He has also spent the last year working part time as a dispatcher with Marshall County E-911. During that time, he's also attended classes at West Kentucky Community and Technical College pursuing an associate's degree.
But everything he's done since graduating high school, Cole said, has been leading up to the moment he could join law enforcement, fulfilling a lifelong dream.
"It's just something I've always wanted to do," he said. "A lot of people who get into law enforcement say they want to do it because they think they will make a big change in people's lives, but I think any positive change I can make in someone's life, big or small, would be worth it."
When Cole isn't working, he enjoys weightlifting and competing in powerlifting events, as well as outdoor recreation including hunting and fishing.
Cole is the grandson of Phillip and Betty Cole, nephew of Bethany Cooper, son of Candy West and brother of Jaylee Cole.