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Vinton hires new police chief from within

December 8, 2011 | Virginia News

Interim Chief Ben Cook and one other finalist were interviewed out of 27 applicantsThe Vinton Town Council tonight selected Ben Cook, a 10-year veteran of the department and interim chief since July, as police chief.

Since he assumed leadership of the force, Cook has focused on reaching out to the community through neighborhood watch and other programs, Town Manager Chris Lawrence said.

The five town council members agreed unanimously to name Cook their next department head.

"You have given this council a clear choice," Councilman Wes Nance said. "I knew that interim chief never had quite the right ring to it, but chief does."

The 46-year-old captain took the department's reins in July after 11-year Chief Herbert Cooley retired. Cooley had rebuilt the department and led it to state accreditation after the resignation of his predecessor following a grand jury investigation.

Of 27 applicants, Cook was one of two finalists the town council and other administrators interviewed for the job, Lawrence said. He declined to name the other finalist.

Cook will earn $69,500, Lawrence said. The chief and his wife, Lory, live outside town limits in Roanoke County and now plan to move to Vinton.

By Katelyn Polantz | The Roanoke Times