UT System Police Chiefs Conference 2021

Every fall, the Office of Director of Police hosts the UT System Police Chiefs Conference attended by Chiefs and select command staff from each UT component to participate in a four-day conference and retreat. During the conference, national, state and internal subject matter experts present on contemporary issues in American policing and university law enforcement.

The conference begins 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. Other awards include the Police Chief of the Year and the Inspector of the Year Award.

In 2018, the UT System Office of Director of Police recognized UTSA’s Police Department. Gerald Lewis, Associate Vice President of Public Safety and Chief of Police, received the UT System Police Pacesetter Department of the Year Award. UTSA PD was honored for several innovative initiatives implemented over the year. In addition to the award the department also received a check for $2,500, provided by the University of Texas Foundation.

About four years ago, the Office of the Director of Police had previously scheduled the Annual UT System Police Chiefs Conference at one of two locations. One location was at the Dude Ranch located in the small town of Bandera, located approximately 35 miles northwest of San Antonio. The second location was the T Bar M Ranch located approximately 35 miles northeast of San Antonio, just west of New Braunfels.

After several conferences, the Chiefs then came up with the idea of having each institution sponsor the conference giving the Chiefs the opportunity to showcase their campuses and the local community. Previous conferences were held at UT Galveston, UTRGV, and South Padre Island. UTSA was the host agency for the 2020 Chiefs Conference but that was cancelled due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

UTSA Police kept its commitment to host the conference and worked throughout the pandemic to plan and host the conference in 2021. This year’s conference was held in San Antonio from 11 – 14 October 2021 at the Drury’s Inn & Suites Riverwalk in downtown San Antonio. Campus tours of UTSA and the UT Health Science Center campuses were given as well as a tour of the Alamodome and some of the local attractions.

The conference was a success and UTSA set the bar high for future conference planners. Opening remarks were given by UTSA’s VPBA, Ms. Veronica Mendez, who was followed by a number of dynamic speakers such as the UT System Chancellor James Milliken, FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, the San Antonio President of the NAACP Dr. Gregory Hudspeth, and our very own Ms. Annette Parker, just to name a few. Due to the pandemic, the planning phase actually took over a year. None of this would have been possible without our team of highly dedicated UTSAPD professionals, each with a unique and specific role, who volunteered their time and energy with the goal of making this conference the best ever. It took a collaborative effort that included the following UTSA employees:

Stephanie Schoenborn, Interim Chief of Police – Planning/Budget Michael Parks, Chief of Police, UTHSC Police Department Daniel Kiley, Assistant Chief of Police – Conference Chair Shawn Smith, Patrol Lieutenant – Conference Logo George Pettit, Inspector UTHSC Police – UTHSC Tour Guide Annette Parker, Executive Director Strategic Initiatives – Conference Manager Jessenia Skelton, Director Security Services – Campus Tour Guide Eric Weber, Sergeant, Professional Development – Audio Visual Gene Garcia, Accreditation Manager – Conference Photographer Belinda Hernandez, Sr. Administrative Associate/Accreditation – Conference Assistant Monica Perez, Sr. Administrative Associate/Accreditation – Conference Assistant Melinda Talamantes, UTHSC Police Public Safety Officer – Security/Escort Leonard Rodriguez, UTHSC Police Public Safety Officer – Security/Escort

This year’s conference will also be known for a number of firsts. This was the first conference to have a dedicated logo design (see above) that was used on conference polo shirts, signs, coffee cups and candy jars. The logo was also displayed on the giant marquee outside of the Alamodome that was seen by thousands as they drove past. The conference was also the first to go virtual for the awards ceremony so other UT components could observe the awards ceremony rather than make the trip to San Antonio. The conference was co-sponsored with the UTHSC Police Department, who covered the cost of one of the charter buses and also provided two Public Safety Officers for security and escort duty. The overall success of the conference can directly be contributed to the time and effort of all of the individuals listed above. It was a total solid team effort!

– Assistant Chief of Police Daniel J. Kiley
November 1, 2021