New police chief brings his experience to Middletown

Middletown residents will see a new face in town on July 1 when Gary Benedict Jr. takes over as police chief.

Benedict, who won the council’s approval Monday night for the position, is chief of police in Avon,  a small town in western New York. He has been the chief there for more than four years, but he brings with him more than 35 years of police experience. He has held multiple stints of being a chief and he also has 23 years of experience as an investigator for the New York State Police.

Benedict is originally from Chesapeake, Virginia, and those ties are what brought him back to the area. He also said that the small town feel of Middletown was a really big draw when it came to choosing the position, because he’s already adept at working with small towns.

Benedict will replace Frederick County Sheriff Lenny Millholland, who has been acting as the interim chief since March when then chief Warren Houde, resigned. Mayor Charles Harbaugh said he was very grateful for the service Millholland provided in the town’s search.

“We are very thankful to Sheriff and Interim Chief Lenny Millholland for providing professionalism and stability to our department,” Harbaugh stated a text message. “Lenny provided us with traffic studies, polygraph tests and background checks for our officers. We also think him for helping gather the panel to interview our police chief candidates.”

Benedict was one of three finalists for the position, and he was officially chosen after passing his background and polygraph tests.

Harbaugh said he knows that Middletown is getting a strong candidate in Benedict.

“We are very excited about Benedict,” Harbaugh stated in the text message. “His resume speaks for itself, 35 years in law enforcement. We were looking for someone with management experience and a hands-on natural leader. Gary won me over when he requested to start July 1 because he would like to stay on through June in New York and finish up some projects that he has going in Avon; he essentially gave a two-month notice. We are looking forward to him serving the residents of Middletown.”