FMU Campus Police welcomes new officers

The FMU Police Department hired three new police officers at the beginning of the 2016-17 academic year. The new officers said they want to show the FMU community a positive side of law enforcement.

One of the new officers, Amber Bennett, has been involved with FMU’s community for years. Bennett is originally from Auburn, New Hampshire. However, in 2015 Bennett received her bachelor’s degree from FMU.

Bennett worked with the FMU Police Department as a dispatcher for two years during her time as a student prior to being hired as an officer. She also completed an internship class through the FMU Police Department during her senior year.

Bennett said that her childhood dream was to become a police officer. Both her uncle and father are officers, and her admiration of them helped create her passion for law enforcement. She graduated from the police academy in August 2016.

According to Bennett, she has wanted to join the FMU Police Department for a while. After getting married, Bennett’s husband, a corpsman in the U.S. Navy, was deployed, so she moved back to Florence, S.C., and was hired as a police officer at FMU.

“I had worked with them for two years and therefore looked at them as family,” Bennett said. “FMU was hiring, and my husband knew that was where I was truly happy. I’m truly thankful that I get to be back in this community.”

Matthew Wentzel, of Hope Mills, N.C., has been in law enforcement for six years before joining the FMU Police Department. Wentzel also wanted to become a police officer in his childhood and attended the police academy after college.

Wentzel said that he became an FMU officer because he was interested in community-oriented police practices. He believes that being a police officer on a college campus is about building a working relationship with students and faculty.

“You can only be successful at protecting and serving the FMU community by first laying down a solid foundation of trust and respect with the people you serve,” Wentzel said.

Shannon Mixon, of Wilson, N.C., was also hired by the FMU Police Department in August 2016. Mixon began his career in law enforcement in 2007.

Mixon attended the University of Mount Olive. Prior to his position at FMU, Mixon worked as an adult probation and parole officer for the North Carolina Department of Corrections. According to Mixon, he has seen the positive reputation of the FMU Police Department through living in Florence since 2012. He believes working as a campus police officer gives many opportunities for training and experiences that may not be gained at a larger department.

Mixon said he hopes to be a positive influence to the FMU community. “College students will only be at FMU for a few short years and I hope during that time I can help their perception of law enforcement as one of service and be the type of officer who is willing to go the extra mile,” Mixon said.

Bennett, Wentzel and Mixon said they are excited to serve the FMU community and work to make the campus a safe place for students to learn and grow.