“I’m happy to be here and I’m ready to move forward and make Raymond a safer community,” said Ben Jackson as he received his new badge Tuesday, Feb. 4, as the Raymond Chief of Police.
Jackson grew up in Auburn and graduated high school from Calvary Academy in Springfield in 1994, and just four years later would begin his law enforcement career.
The new police chief attended the Police Training Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and began patrolling the Divernon area, where he served on the police force for two years.
Following his tenure in Divernon, he’d find his next venture just ten miles away at the Virden Police Department. During his time with the Divernon and Virden police departments, he was an active DAR officer from 1999 to 2004.
In 2005, he was deployed to Iraq as part of the United States Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.
As an International Police Advisor, Jackson trained Iraqi police for roughly six years. Just before his departure in 2011, he was an acting SIVPOL deputy program manager.
When he returned home, he was employeed as a part-time police officer, serving the Virden and Greenfield communities. He would eventually find a new interest in the restaurant industry and opened his very own, Jackson’s Fox and Hound BBQ in Hettick two years ago.
As far as serving the Raymond community, Jackson is eager to learn more about the people whom he will be serving. He said this is his first time as a police chief, as well as his first full-time gig as an officer since Iraq.
“I’m always looking for a new challenge,” he said. “And I’m familiar with the area as my step dad lived here for about 20 years.”
His main focus has been meeting with the school district on a regular basis to form and review an emergency response plan. As a past DAR officer and father himself, he hopes to etablish programs catered to helping Panhandle youth. When he’s not patrolling the streets or operating his restaurant, he delights in vacationing to South Dakota every year to enjoy the mountains, hunting, fishing, riding his motorcycle and volunteering in outreach with at-risk veterans.
“It’s kind of like my purpose in life,” said Jackson of working with at-risk veterans. “With my kids being number one.”
As part of his outreach work, he supports an organization co-founded by a fellow officer he served with in Iraq. The Nebraska Buddy Check program helps veterans struggling with depression, suicidal thoughts and provides friendship, housing and more. Jackson’s restaurant hosts an annual fundraiser to help raise funds and awareness of the program’s mission.
Jackson resides in Hettick and is the father of two children, Lane and Luke Jackson.