VINTON–Police Chief Ben Cook retired from the Vinton Police Department on October 25, 2015. The town recognized him with a reception in his honor at the Vinton War Memorial on November 2. Many law enforcement and public safety colleagues from across the valley attended to thank him for his service. Mayor Brad Grose commended him for “setting a great example in this community.”
Roanoke County Police Chief Howard Hall thanked Cook for “being a strong partner with us.”
Vinton Town Council issued a proclamation at its last meeting extending gratitude and commendation for his service.
Proclamations usually contain a few “whereases” listing the accomplishments of the individual being recognized. Cook’s are numerous.
He began his law enforcement career in 1985 with Franklin County and then became a police detective for Norfolk Southern Railway. He began working as an officer for the Vinton Police Department in December 2001.
He was promoted to Master Police Officer in June 2003, sergeant on July 4, 2005, detective sergeant in November 2005, lieutenant in 2008, captain in 2010, and interim chief in 2011, before being appointed chief on December 19, 2011.
During his tenure on the Vinton force, he served on the Town’s Public Safety and Highway Safety Committees. He served as Emergency Management Coordinator from 2011-2015.
Cook is a member of the International and Virginia Associations of Chiefs of Police; serves as secretary of the Blue Ridge Association of Chiefs of Police, and currently serves on the governing board of the Cardinal Criminal Justice Academy and the Emergency Communications Center, as well as on the Criminal Justice Curriculum board for Virginia Western Community College.
He formerly served on the Protective Order Committee of the Virginia State Senate and is past chairman of the Roanoke Area Criminal Justice Information network Governing Board.
He was the recipient of a commendation for bravery from the United States Department of Justice and received the Purple Heart award when he was shot in the line of duty by a career criminal in July 2006.
“When I was a Detective Sergeant, I stopped by a location in Roanoke City where a couple of my detectives were on a theft investigation,” said Cook. “During the encounter with the suspects, one of them pulled out a gun and fired, striking me in the foot. He then barricaded himself in a house and began a five-hour standoff. Roanoke tactical team members breached the home by force and took the shooter into custody. He ultimately received 22 years in federal prison for the incident.”
Cook has been named Police Officer of the Year and received numerous other commendations from the Vinton Police Department.
The proclamation went on to praise Cook for being active in public safety as a member and former captain of the Vinton Volunteer Fire Department, as a life member and former chief of the Boones Mill Fire Department, as well as a member of the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association, the International Association of Arson Investigators, and as past vice president of the Franklin County chapter of the International Association of Firefighters.
Cook thanked Vinton Town Council and the Vinton Police Department for their overwhelming support during his years on the force and as chief.
“It was truly an honor and a privilege to serve the Town of Vinton,” said Cook. “It gave me a sense of pride and honor to serve the public.”
Cook has accepted a position as security manager with Lewis Gale Medical Center.