ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Colleagues, friends and family mourned the death of a man who dedicated his life to service as a former New York State Police superintendent and public safety commissioner.
Wayne Bennett passed away Tuesday after spending nearly 40 years with NYSP and 10 more years with the city of Schenectady.
Friday evening, people came to the New York State Police Academy to pay their respects.
“He cared about his guys and his girls, his people,” Warren Co. Sheriff Bud York said.
York worked with Bennett for 30 years at NYSP.
“He was a no nonsense guy,” York said. “You know, a cop’s cop.”
York received his first promotion from Bennett and was in attendance when Bennett became NYSP Superintendent in 2003.
“There’s not always that camaraderie between a high boss and someone of a lower ranks,” he said. “That doesn’t happen a lot. With Wayne Bennett, it was different.”
Bennett was the same working as the Public Safety Commissioner for the city of Schenectady overseeing the city’s police and fire departments. He held the position since 2007.
“He was somebody that would sit down and talk to you,” Schenectady Police Chief Eric Clifford said. “He would care about what’s going on in your life.”
But he also continued to hold all who worked with him to a high standard. Clifford said that was important at the time Bennett came to the city.
“It was reassuring to have someone of his stature come and tell the public that they’re doing good work,” he said.
Clifford said they’re a better department because of Bennett.
“He had a very big influence on us, but his legacy is going to live on with us,” he said.
A legacy that won’t just live on in Schenectady but across the Capital Region and the state.
“We’re missing him already,” York said.
Bennett was 71 years old.
His funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Mary’s Church in Albany.