Stephanie Benjamin has served the City of Plano as a police officer for the past seven years. As a child, she never imagined she would end up in law enforcement. Her mom would videotape her in the front yard practicing meteorology. Stephanie later went off to do production and behind-the-scenes work on hit TV shows such as “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and “Saturday Night Live” in New York City. After moving back to Texas to be closer to family, she decided to take the test to join the Plano Police Department. She scored well and has been here ever since, confident that she’s found her calling.
What led you to become a police officer?
I always thought it was really cool to meet women in what I thought was a powerful role. So when City of Plano was actively pursuing women, saying, “This is what we have to offer, and we desperately need women for not only sworn positions but for civilians, crime scenes, pretty much whatever,” I knew this was the kind of place I wanted to work. This place was just so welcoming and actively seeking women.
What are your current roles and responsibilities?
I’m in the Neighborhood Officer Unit, so our unit is assigned to neighborhoods that might have problem areas or have high needs. I’m assigned to Downtown Plano, and it’s my job to pretty much be the little sheriff of downtown. I like to introduce myself to all the businesses and be on a first name basis with them. I also go to all the events and meetings in downtown. Our goal is to build relationships with people. But we’re still police officers, so if something bad happens across the street, I’m going to go jump in my patrol car and handle it.
What is it like being a female police officer?
I don’t know anything different but I don’t feel like I’m treated any differently [than a male officer]. I think women are good listeners and good at communicating. I also recognize that I’m pretty small and some people want to hurt us. I’ll train jiu-jitsu and martial arts to prepare for stuff like that. I think it’s really important to recognize your strengths and weakness.
Why do you love Plano?
It’s just a nice place to live. It’s nice people. It’s safe. I love working for this police department and having the citizens support us. I think all the officers in this city are lucky to be here. There’s always going to be some people who don’t like you because you wear a uniform but I feel like the majority of citizens in Plano support us, and that means a lot.