After nearly a year of trying to fill a vacancy at the Kittitas Police Department, Chief Chris Taylor said he has found a perfect fit.

Benito Chavez was sworn in with the department on Aug. 13 after completing the Ellensburg Police Department Reserve Academy.

“Benito has had some reserve training through Ellensburg Police Department’s reserve academy,” Taylor said. “They’re an outstanding agency and they put out outstanding officers.”

Chavez, age 21, said he didn’t always know he wanted to go into law enforcement. He thought his heart was set on becoming a game warden. However, after some research, he discovered he’d need a very specific education. Additionally, he learned job opportunities are scarce.

“My family was very big on making a tentative plan for yourself and figuring out what you wanted to do and how you were going to achieve that goal,” Chavez said.

His aunt suggested he go into law enforcement.

“I’d say since the age of 16 my goal has been to become a law enforcement officer,” Chavez said. “I didn’t really care where I went, I just wanted my start. I was just eager to start doing the job and everything.”

At the age of 17 he joined the Washington Army National Guard as an infantryman to take a step toward law enforcement.

Chavez had tentatively planned to join the Army and then use his GI Bill to attend college before pursuing a career, but plans changed.

“My first real opportunity was with Ellensburg PD reserve program,” Chavez said. “Being up to Ellensburg standards was a real confidence booster.”

Chavez graduated from Ellensburg’s reserve academy on July 13, 2018, and had been patrolling for about two weeks when he heard about the opening at the Kittitas department.

Chavez will be sponsored by the department to attend basic law enforcement academy in Burien, for five months of training, Taylor said. He is expected to begin with the department in November or December.

“He comes highly regarded by his peers and some of the locals here,” Taylor said.

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