Adjunct Professor John Benoit, NYPD Chief of Personnel
Adjunct Professor John Benoit Promoted to NYPD Chief of Personnel

John Benoit, an adjunct professor, was recently named the Chief of Personnel at the New York City Police Department (NYPD). “I can hardly believe it myself,” says Benoit, who has over 33 years of NYPD experience. “Getting this job is the honor of my career. To be entrusted to oversee all human resource functions for this massive agency means the world to me.” Benoit teaches in the Department of Law, Police Science, and Criminal Justice.

What inspired you to join the NYPD?
As a little boy, I loved cars, especially police cars and the highway patrol motorcycles. That’s honestly what first drew me to the idea of joining law enforcement. Then, at the College of Staten Island, a recruiter handed me a pamphlet about the NYPD. The life that the pamphlet
presented was really appealing to me, so I applied. I still have my letter from 1990 telling me I got into the NYPD cadet program.

What does your job as NYPD Chief of Personnel involve?
In this role, I’m in charge of all the onboarding, salary upgrades, disciplinary penalties, hiring practices, and personnel allocations for over 15,000 employees. I hope to launch a team of community outreach people to amplify the recruitment process. We have a lot of hard-to-fill titles—for example, auto service workers to maintain our fleet of vehicles. We need to have an outreach that goes to local repair shops, colleges, and schools that teach auto mechanics.

In any police department, there’s a much bigger organization behind the officers you see on patrol. There are all kinds of roles that need to be filled, which includes a civilian workforce that supports the uniform efforts. A huge part of my job is to ensure that the communities we serve have people in the NYPD that look, speak, and feel like they do. Everyone should be properly represented.

What’s one of the best experiences you’ve had in the NYPD?
Back in 1997, when I was a highway patrol officer, we were required to take a birthing course—just in case we were in a situation where we had to deliver a baby. One day, while on patrol, I got a call for a “heavy bleeder.” I wasn’t far from the location, so I headed over thinking it would be a car accident. Instead, it was a woman in the backseat of a car giving birth. I was really glad I took that course, because the ambulance didn’t get there in time. It was me that welcomed that baby into the world. I often think that little boy could be one of my students at John Jay.

Why do you find teaching at John Jay rewarding?
In 2012, there was an opportunity to teach at John Jay and I’m so glad I took it. After my first year, I really started to see the impact I could have on students—especially students hoping to join law enforcement. People I met throughout my career changed my life for the better as they moved up the ranks in the NYPD. Now, I consider it a privilege to reach back and do the same for John Jay students. 

What advice would you give to a student hoping to follow in your footsteps?
Being uncomfortable is part of the process. That’s when you learn the most. You need three things to succeed in any job: a positive attitude, a great work ethic, and a professional appearance. That’s your reputation. When people talk about you, those three qualities will be in the room when you’re not. Anyone can look at a situation and find a million things wrong with it but when you have a positive attitude, solid work ethic, and professional appearance, your perspective will change for the better.