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Retired deputy reflects on career as Black officer

Retired Deputy Benny Burrell, a Gloucester native who now lives in Bluefield, West Virginia, has written a book about his 30-year career as a Black rural law enforcement officer. It is titled “Justified Silence.”

Benny Burrell

The 14-year veteran of the Mathews County Sheriff’s Office also served in the Gloucester and Middlesex sheriff’s offices and the West Point and College of William and Mary police departments. Burrell said his book is a personal reflection on his experiences and his growth as a law enforcement officer.

“Sometimes I thought I was treated unfairly,” said Burrell. “As I grew, I realized some of it was not someone else’s fault, but my own. The result of not having the confidence to be what I actually wanted to be.”

Burrell likened his difficulty to Superman dealing with kryptonite. He said Superman was always trying to help everyone, but wasn’t able to see the kryptonite that could hinder even him. Burrell said his mindset was like kryptonite, hindering h...

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