Bessey retires after 35 years of service

After nearly 35 years of service to Penn State, University Police Lt. John Bessey will retire on July 31. His retirement is the culmination of a long career with University Police and Public Safety (UPPS) includes service to several campuses.

Bessey began his Penn State career at the Scranton campus in 1986, transferring to Berks in 1994. During that time, he worked his way through the ranks of Police Services, starting as patrol officer, then sergeant, then acting lieutenant at Abington campus for a little over a year, and finally lieutenant and station commander for Penn State Berks in 2017. Additionally, he was often asked to work during many football games at University Park over the years.

“I applaud Lt. Bessey’s more than three decades of service during which time he built meaningful and trusting relationships with many of the community members we serve. While bittersweet, his retirement is well-deserved,” said Charlie Noffsinger, associate vice president of UPPS. 

Over the years, Bessey said that he has seen a lot of change in policing at Penn State, from its beginnings as an unarmed department to adopting technology such as radio equipment in patrol cars, Tasers and body-worn cameras.  

“I am happy that I was able to serve the Penn State community,” he said.

In addition to the relationships he built on campus, Bessey also built upon his connections within the community including the Fraternal Order of Police and Berks County Chiefs of Police Association, as well as with local municipal police departments -- many of which work with Penn State Berks University Police when there is an incident on campus. Penn State Berks officers also support municipal police in the local community when needed.

Bessey graduated from the Lackawanna Police Academy and earned an associate degree in business from Penn State Berks.

When asked what he plans to do when he retires, Bessey said that he plans to stay active and plans to do some consulting work.