Skip to Search Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content


UTSA Police Recognized as Pacesetter Department of the Year

The UT System Office of Director of Police recognized UTSA’s Police Department and Gerald Lewis, Associate Vice President of Public Safety and Chief of Police, with its UT System Police Pacesetter Department of the Year award. UTSA PD was recognized for several innovative initiatives implemented over the last year.

Every fall the Office of Director of Police hosts the UT System police chiefs and select command staff members for a four-day conference/retreat. There, national, state and internal subject matter experts present on contemporary issues in American policing and university law enforcement.

This year, the group met in Galveston. On Monday, October 22, the conference began with the presentation of the University of Texas System Police annual awards, which includes the Pacesetter award. It recognizes the institutional police department and chief of police who have embraced national best practices, created a strategic vision for the future, engaged in the development of a positive and inclusive organizational culture, and demonstrated preparedness for any eventuality that may confront the department.

“It is my pleasure and privilege to recognize the UTSA Police Department and Chief Gerald Lewis for this very prestigious award,” said Michael J. Heidingsfield, Director of Police, University of Texas System Police, who presented the award to Chief Lewis. “Gerald is a great partner, collaborator and UTSP executive team member and exceptionally deserving of this award.” The department received a check for $2,500, provided by the University of Texas Foundation.

“This important award is a tribute to the awesome and dedicated efforts of each member of the UTSA Department of Public Safety,” said Chief Lewis. “It is a testimony to the commitment of our personnel to provide a safe environment for our university community.”

The UTSA Department of Public Safety includes the Police Department, Office of Emergency Management, Environmental Health Safety Risk Management, and Security Services. The department was also recognized for hosting the US Department of Homeland Security National Tabletop Exercise for Institutions of Higher Education in September.

Some other recent accomplishments include:

  • Introduction of the nationally recognized LiveSafe smartphone app to increase safety on the UTSA campuses. UTSA was the first UT System institution to launch this program.  The LiveSafe@UTSA app allows students, faculty and staff to communicate directly with the UTSA PD and to send photos, videos or text messages regarding safety concerns. 
  • UTSA also created an UTSA-centric Active Shooter video entitled “Choose to Live.”  Written and produced entirely in-house, the video provides guidance to campus community members on how to protect themselves and others during an active shooter incident. It promotes three key principles: Avoid, Deny, Defend. Campus-wide introduction of the video was preceded by a full-scale exercise to prepare public safety personnel to respond to an emergency incident.