WILDWOOD CREST - A well-known Wildwood Crest native and 25-year veteran of the police force retired at the end of 2020, after a ceremony honoring him at a Dec. 29, 2020, Board of Commissioners meeting.
Lt. Ronald Becker was known by many in the Crest community for his years as a school resource officer, a position he held at Crest Memorial School since 2011.
“It was a privilege to be able to work where I lived, in a town that, I truly think, is exceptional,” Becker said, in an interview.
Becker also led the school’s Drug and Alcohol Resistance Education (DARE) program from 1997-2019. In later years, DARE was replaced by Law Enforcement Against Drugs (LEAD), a morethorough program encompassing bullying and violence, in addition to drug and alcohol prevention. Through these interactions, Becker made connections with students.
“They don’t see him as just a cop, they see him as Lt. Becker,” said Dave Smith, a fifth-grade math teacher at Crest Memorial. “He was in the school all the time. I think that’s the most important thing. It creates a relationship where students understand that police officers are people and they’re there to help, and they understand their role in the community from a young age.”
Becker began his career with the Crest as a summer officer, in 1994. In 1996, he completed the State Police Academy and became a full-time officer in the Crest. He did patrol work, detective work, in addition to his work in the school system, and, most recently, lead the patrol division in his role as a lieutenant.
“It’s tough to say goodbye to somebody who meant so much to this community and this police department,” said Police Chief Robert Lloyd. “You’ve (Becker) really paved the way for our community policing.”
In retirement, Becker said he may not be going far, and is interested in private security work in county schools.
“I’ve got three daughters. I can’t stop. I’ve got to continue on,” Becker added.