Top photo: From left, UTSA color guard Officer Matthew Stacy,
Officer Geoffrey Merritt and Cpl. Robert Kolar.
Middle photo: UTSA Police Chief David Hernandez and UTSA
President Ricardo Romo place a memorial wreath.
Bottom photo: Texas and U.S. flags
(Photos by Mark McClendon)
UTSA salutes law enforcement officers at flagpole ceremony
(May 17, 2006)--In recognition of Law Enforcement Appreciation Week, May 8-15, UTSA saluted the 48 officers in the UTSA Police Department and other U.S. peace officers.
A wreath and flag ceremony was conducted May 15 with honor guard and university officials at the flagpole between the John Peace Library and Arts buildings on the 1604 Campus. At the ceremony, UTSA President Ricardo Romo and Police Chief David Hernandez placed a wreath in honor of police officers who died in the line of duty.
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"We are grateful to the officers who protect and serve, and I encourage everyone to take a moment to thank them for their hard work and dedication," said Romo.
Under the leadership of Chief David Hernandez and Assistant Chief Dan Pena, the UTSA Police Department continues to expand its services to ensure that the UTSA community and visitors feel safe and secure.
"The men and women of the UTSA Police Department provide professional and quality services to our customers," said Hernandez. "Their commitment and dedication is something that we can all be proud of."
During Law Enforcement Appreciation Week, the UTSA Police Department conducted an open house and tours of their facilities. Additionally, they distributed summer safety tips to UTSA community members.
UTSA police officers are certified and commissioned Texas Peace Officers who have completed five months of training at the UT System Police Academy in Austin. UT System Police officers must complete 884 hours of training, 266 hours more than required by the state. More than half of the officers have bachelor's or master's degrees.
UTSA police officers work in three divisions (executive, patrol and administration) and seven units (criminal investigations, crime prevention, emergency preparedness, telecommunications, access control, records and training).
Among their regular duties, the officers provide services including:
- Residential checks for out-of-town residents
- Fingerprinting for anyone requesting it for potential jobs
- Presentations on topics including drug and alcohol education and awareness, hazing, personal safety
- Security assessments of living areas and offices
- Student and employee escorts
- Special event security
A 2005 survey of UTSA students and staff reporting criminal activity found more than 90 percent selected "excellent" or "above average" in the quality of service they received from a UTSA police officer. Survey categories included knowledge, helpfulness, friendliness, quality of service, professional conduct, providing complete information and response time.
Among those surveyed, 77 percent felt safer on campus than off and 92 percent thought the UTSA Police Department contributes significantly to a safe academic environment.