Police Chief Paul Doucette of Bennington, Vt., has been named "Law Enforcement Officer of the Year" by The American Legion. The honor was bestowed upon the 22-year veteran of the Bennington Police Department at the organization's national convention in Indianapolis on Aug. 29.
Doucette was recognized by the Legion for his distinguished public service career. He was named Bennington's Chief of Police and Public Safety Director in 2010, and has since been lauded for his efforts to strengthen ties between police officers and members of their community. Doucette established foot patrols in specific high-risk residential areas and has been instrumental in obtaining grants to fund the purchase of high-tech law enforcement tools and, indicative of his character, provide care for formerly mistreated animals awaiting adoption.
Doucette earned a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice from Southern Vermont College in 1990 and received honors from the school as Outstanding Alumnus and Distinguished Alumnus. He then graduated from the Vermont Police Academy in 1990 and from the FBI National Academy in 2005.
In addition to the latest honor by The American Legion, Doucette has been recognized on numerous occasions by the state of Vermont, his community and his police department. Doucette is highly visible as a volunteer in a number of organizations, including Boy Scouts of America, reflecting his heritage as an Eagle Scout.