VINTON–Vinton Police Chief Ben Cook will be retiring effective October 25, 2015. He is accepting a position as Security Manager with Lewis Gale Medical Center. Cook has been with the Vinton police force since 2001 and was appointed chief four years ago.
A native of Franklin County, Cook has been in law enforcement and public safety for 30 years. He began his career as a Deputy Sheriff in Franklin County in 1985, then served as a firefighter/paramedic and deputy fire marshal for Franklin County’s Public Safety department. He was a police detective for Norfolk Southern Railroad before coming to work at the Vinton Police Department in 2001. He currently holds a Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Bluefield College.
Cook served as Interim Chief in Vinton when Chief Herbert Cooley retired, and was then chosen from a field of 27 applicants as chief in December 2011.
Upon announcing his retirement plans to council, Chief Cook said, “I would like to thank Town Council, Town Staff, the men and women of the Vinton Police Department, as well as the citizens of Vinton for the support and trust they placed in me to serve as Chief of Police. The Vinton Police Department is a professional and dedicated law enforcement agency that will continue to serve our citizens well. I am also excited about the opportunity to be part of the Lewis Gale Medical Center staff and look forward to beginning this new chapter in my professional career.”
In his job with Lewis Gale, Cook will be providing management and oversight of security operations, as well as coordinating emergency response activities and disaster planning for the facility.
“Lewis Gale takes the safety and security of our patients, visitors, and employees very seriously, and we are very fortunate to have someone with Ben’s experience and skills assume this responsibility,” said Michael Abbott, Chief Operating Officer at Lewis Gale Medical Center.
Vinton Town Council officially announced that Cook is leaving after a special closed session on October 7. Following the closed session, council met to set the parameters for selection of the new chief to expedite the process. Town Manager Chris Lawrence hopes that an interim chief can be announced at the October 20 council meeting, with a new chief in place by late January or early February.