“One of the main reasons I got into law enforcement was my experiences with my parents,” says Nags Head Patrol Officer Ben Jadoff.
His father, a lifelong New Yorker, served for many years as a Catholic priest and then felt he was ready for a new chapter in his life, deciding to marry and have a family. Aside from helping instill in him an understanding of the virtues of hard work and strong character, “he was a great storyteller,” Jadoff recalls. “And [he] used to regale me with his tales of interacting with NYPD beat cops when he was growing up.”
Those stories, Jadoff says, left a strong impression on him about how important and “honorable” the law enforcement profession was. “They were just honest, hard-working guys who saw bad things every day and handled them so that somebody else didn’t have to,” he says.
After abandoning his youthful dreams of being the general manager of the New York Yankees, Jadoff joined the Nags Head Police Department in 2015. For the past year and a half, he has also served on Dare County’s Joint Agency Tactical Unit, which he describes as “the county-wide SWAT team with multiple agencies involved.”
He explains that the “highly trained and tactical unit” is brought in “whenever there is something that is too dangerous for patrol,” or the need is identified for the team’s specialized training and equipment.
New Nags Head Police Chief Phil Webster told the Sentinel that Jadoff is very deserving of having been named the department's 2018 Officer of the Year.
"Ben is a complete professional and an excellent example of what a police officer should be,” Webster explains. “He is an extremely well-rounded officer who has gone from being a brand-new officer, to someone who has a veteran officer skill set, in a very short amount of time."
Even while noting that his work on the tactical unit, along with serving as a department TASER instructor, has its own special “allure,” Jadoff emphasizes that he finds his other work even more rewarding.
"I really enjoy working with children," he says, referring to his volunteer work accompanying Nags Head Elementary School (NHES) students and the school resource officer for their annual trip to the Jamestown Settlement, site of America's first permanent English colony.
He also volunteers to serve at the NHES Bike Rodeo every year. “We teach the kids the basics of proper bike safety, including proper hand signals and why you should wear a helmet,” he says. He especially enjoys leading the students through the very popular “slow race,” explaining that “it’s a race to see who can go the slowest on their bike without putting their feet down.”
As the students maneuver their way through a road course with various obstacles and challenges, Jadoff says, the experience is completely new and exciting for many of them. With media technology keeping lots of kids indoors all day with their devices, he says, “Any way you can get them outside and feeling comfortable having fun outside is a good thing.”
Prior to going into law enforcement, Jadoff also served as a middle school teaching assistant for special needs children. Describing himself as a “sports fanatic,” he played baseball throughout his youth and school years and received a B.A in sports management from High Point University. Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that he has worked with Duck police officer John Gilreath for three years now in coaching little league.
Jadoff says his “passion” for athletics and physical fitness has proved helpful in his work with children. But he also puts it to use in another volunteer effort, providing fitness regimens to help fellow town employees reach fitness or weight goals.
Having followed his powerful sense of duty and calling instilled by his parents, Jadoff says his career choice has been very rewarding. “No two days are the same," he reports. "I don’t think I could sit in a cubicle, crunch numbers all day and keep my sanity.”
“I enjoy helping people,” he adds. “I was raised that way, and that’s what we do. We take care of people.”