It's been a long time since the Dublin Police Department officially had a sergeant, but it has one now.
Dublin ISD School Resource Officer and 20-year veteran Bennie Noel was recently promoted to sergeant by Chief Shawn Fullagar.
"Bennie's been doing this job without the title or the pay for a while now," Fullagar said Tuesday. "When I was at a training school for a week earlier last month, I left Bennie in charge by memo. But what happens if I'm sick or there's an emergency? We decided it was time to name an official sergeant."
Fullagar said he was not only looking for someone to be in charge in his absence, but someone to be his second in command, someone to help him lead. He found that in Noel.
"He was serving as a reserve officer when I was in high school here," Fullagar said with a chuckle. "Back then I gave him a hard time. Now we're working alongside each other. He's a great officer and an asset to our team here."
Noel began riding along with officers in 1978 and became a full-time officer with the Dublin PD in 1983. He said while the promotion means several changes for Noel, one thing that won't change is his school resource officer status.
"I'll still be serving as SRO alongside Melinda (Spence) for DISD," Noel said. "But there will be some changes, changes I'm excited about."
Noel and Fullagar said they hope to reinstate the Citizens Police Academy and form a Jr. Police Academy at the elementary and middle schools.
"We are going to continue to build trust with our residents, especially our younger residents, and the best way to do that, in my opinion, is by open lines of communication," Noel said. "I've been in this community for years and don't plan on leaving. I'm looking forward to being a big part of the changes coming from the Dublin police."