Logan officer plans run for district judge

Benzel seeks to continue Jackson’s legacy of service

Longtime Logan Town­ship police officer Rick Benzel has announced his candidacy for magisterial district judge.

Benzel, 47, said Friday he is running as a Republican candidate for the magisterial district judge 24-3-02 seat that is currently held by Magisterial District Judge Steven Jackson.

Jackson is retiring after two six-year terms, and Benzel said he wants to continue Jackson’s legacy in serving the people of the magisterial district, which includes Logan and Allegheny townships as well as Tunnelhill Borough.

“My 22-year law enforcement career — in the streets and in the courtroom — has me well-prepared to take on the role of magisterial district judge,” Benzel said Friday in a statement. “My pledge is to administer the office with the utmost integrity, objectivity, accountability and in accordance with the laws of our commonwealth.”

An Altoona native, Benzel is a 1989 graduate of Bishop Guilfoyle High School and a 1994 graduate of the Mun­icipal Police Officer Training Academy in Johnstown. He is currently a patrolman first class with Logan Township police and a 22-year veteran of law enforcement.

Benzel’s father, the late Dick Benzel, retired from the Altoona Police Department as a sergeant, and his mother, the late Phyllis Benzel, was a homemaker. Benzel and his wife, Trina, have been married for 15 years, and he has two children and four grandchildren.

Retired Logan Township Police Chief Tim Mercer said he’s known Benzel for more than 20 years and said he “is a candidate that stands head and shoulders above all” in the race for magisterial district judge.

“I firmly believe he has the necessary traits to do this job and do it well,” Mercer said Friday, adding that Benzel is honest, has integrity, common sense, is compassionate and his reputation is beyond reproach.

Benzel indicated he intends to cross-file on both Republican and Democratic ballots for the spring primary election.

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