Bennington's police chief, Paul Doucette, 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.

Chief Doucette was recognized by the Legion, the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization, for his long and distinguished public service career. Doucette 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's successful innovations include the establishment of foot patrols in specific, high-risk residential areas. Chief Doucette has also 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's educational credentials are impressive, earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Southern Vermont College in 1990 and subsequently receiving honors from the school as Outstanding Alumnus and Distinguished Alumnus. He graduated from the Vermont Police Academy in 1990 and from the FBI National Academy in 2005. In recent years, Doucette completed a number of police leadership and management programs.

In addition to the latest honor by The American Legion, Doucette has been recognized on numerous occasions by the state of Vermont, by his community and by his police department. Chief Doucette is highly visible as a volunteer in a number of organizations including the Boy Scouts of America, reflecting his heritage as an Eagle Scout.