University News

Phil Benne Memorial Scholarship at WIU

December 10, 2012

Share |
Printer friendly version

MACOMB/PEORIA, IL -- Amid the activity and energy of the holiday season, many of us stop to think about those we love who are no longer here to celebrate with us. This is certainly the case for the Benne family of Peoria, who lost their husband and father, Phil, in February.

Many may remember Benne from his 30 years on the Peoria Police Department, starting as a patrol officer in 1978 after graduating from Western Illinois University with a degree in law enforcement. Benne was a field training officer, then was assigned to the Criminal Investigations Bureau, was a K-9 Officer, a Special Response Team member and a lieutenant of the Technical Services Division at the time of his retirement in 2008. He received numerous commendations, including the Life Saving Award (1981), the Distinguished Service Award (1986), the American Legion Meritorious Service Award (1987) and the Policemen of the Year Award (1990).

After retiring, Benne was hired by Securitas as a facility security manager for Caterpillar, with responsibilities for the Downtown Caterpillar Campus. He was later promoted to membership in Caterpillar Global Security as senior security professional, and was then elevated by Securitas to the position of director of U.S. Operations for the Caterpillar Account.

Benne died unexpectedly Feb. 7, 2012. To honor their friend and colleague, Caterpillar Global Security and Securitas Security Services USA, Inc. recently established the Philip Benne Memorial Scholarship at Western Illinois University. The scholarship will benefit students from Peoria County pursuing a degree in law enforcement and justice administration at Western.

"We feel the scholarship is a fitting tribute to Phil," said Tim Williams, director of Caterpillar Global Security, and Jack Zahran, President of Securitas. "He came from a law enforcement family and was well-known for the work ethic he inherited from his father. Those of us who worked with him felt an ongoing scholarship fund to assist local youths prepare for the profession was a proper honor to Phil, his life and his career."

Benne's wife, Eileen, and children, Jennifer, Jessica, Jacqueline and Jason, agree.

"Phil was proud of his law enforcement degree and felt it prepared him well for his career," said Eileen. "He would not have been able to earn a college degree without scholarship assistance. The kids and I know he would be really pleased to know he is helping others as he was helped."

Contributions to the Phil Benne Memorial Scholarship can be sent to the WIU Foundation, 1 University Circle, 303 Sherman Hall, Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois 61455-1390. To donate online, visit

Posted By: Julie Murphy, WIU Foundation (
Office of University Relations