SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) He wanted to stand up for those who couldn’t. So, after earning a double major in Sociology and Human Development and Family Studies – he took that knowledge into law enforcement. We get to know Detective Zach Bench – in this weeks Behind the Badge report.
“Quite often you will come into contact with a victim of assault or a domestic situation or fraud and they’re just lost and confused and don’t know how to solve their problem or who to go to for answers.” Detective Zach Bench says – being there for people is why he decided to become an officer. “I wanted to be that person who could help them out.”
Today he works in violent crimes with the Unified Police Department. And the 33-year-old officer says he takes this job very seriously. “When someone has lost a loved one whether it be suicide or through the hands of another – they need answers. They want answers. They want closure.” “When answers need to be found I am going to do anything I can – I am going to turn over every stone that needs to be turned over. And I won’t close cases until I am confident we know we have done everything we can.”
In addition to violent crimes – Detective Bench is also a crisis negotiator. And during his 10-year career, he has covered a lot of territory. “I had the opportunity to meet many children who were in crisis. Whether it be there own situations or situations at home.” While working in protective services he interacted with juveniles on a regular basis at the county’s youth services center. “We’d have dinner with them. We’d play basketball with them. Play games with them. A lot of interactions on a positive note.”
He worked as a patrol officer for five years in Holiday and Millcreek. Then he moved to Riverton to investigate fraud and property crimes. “A change of pace from patrol work. Big change being in a patrol car 10 hours a day to sitting at a desk 8 hours a day. Ha. It was a culture shock for me.”
He dealt with hundreds of cases – but the case involving a stolen wedding and engagement ring from a local gym is one of the highlights.
“Within an hour I had a response back. And both rings had been pawned at a pawn shop in Midvale and they still had them in physical custody.” He called the woman who had the rings stolen to come to verify the rings were hers. “She and her husband met and the clerk brought the rings out and she instantly – it was an emotional event.” “She started to tear up and you could just see the significance of those rings.”
Detective Bench says that is a perfect example of why he loves law enforcement and why he loves to protect and serve.
“I wanted to be that person who could stand up and speak for somebody who couldn’t who was afraid or unable to stand up for themselves.”
Detective Bench served as Officer Friendly and taught kids at Morning Side Elementary and he is a training officer.
If you would like to nominate an officer or emergency responder for a future behind the badge story, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to https://www.good4utah.com/badge.