Bennington Police Chief Receives Distinguished Alumni Award at Southern Vermont

May 11, 2009

Richard Gauthier, known to area residents as Bennington’s “Chief Gauthier,” received the Southern Vermont College Distinguished Alumni Award during the college’s 82nd Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 17. The Distinguished Alumni Award is given at Commencement to an alumna or alumnus of Southern Vermont College or its predecessor, St. Joseph College, in recognition of a combination of career, community service and personal achievements. The award recipient is nominated and selected by other alumni. 

In 1991, Gauthier graduated from Southern Vermont College with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. He later attended the FBI National Academy. In 2007, Gauthier received a master’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Norwich University. 

Since 1980, Gauthier has been with the Bennington Police Department, where he has held the position as Police Chief for eleven years. He is also the Public Safety Director and Emergency Management Director. In addition to his role in law enforcement, Gauthier is presently a faculty member at Southern Vermont College, teaching criminal justice courses. 

A former student called Gauthier “a phenomenal educator. He has taken the education he received at SVC and applied it to his work. He passes on his knowledge to his students in a practical way. He is an excellent representative of SVC and its values.”   

Gauthier has received recognition awards including the Vermont VFW Law Enforcement Officer of the Year in 2005 and the Vermont Commissioner’s Award for Service to Children and Families. He currently serves on several boards including the Vermont Association of Chiefs of Police, the New England Association of Chiefs of Police and is the chair of the Vermont Law Enforcement Advisory Board and the Vermont Law Enforcement Working Group, which is affiliated with the Vermont Department of Homeland Security. 

In addition to being a member of the Catamount Rotary Club, Gauthier is a founding member of The Bennington County Crime Victims Emergency Fund; Bennington Police Explorers; and Bennington County Association Against Child Abuse, which has since been transformed into the Bennington County Child Advocacy Center/Special Victims Unit. Gauthier is a lifelong resident of the Bennington area where he resides with his wife Cynthia and son Christopher.