Two additional officers joined TCU Police to make a force of 20 to fill gaps left by former officers who retired or moved elsewhere, said the chief of police.John Thornhill and Joe Chambers were hired within the last three weeks, TCU Chief of Police Steve McGee said.
Thornhill, who previously worked for TCU, said he rejoined the staff for a variety of reasons.
“I missed it,” Thornhill said. “It is such a small family, and it feels like something special that you can’t get at other employments.”
McGee said Chambers is still in training and must learn the campus before he starts working on the force.
Chambers was not unavailable to comment on his new position.
“He’s a brand new officer, so we’re showing him the campus during the daylight hours and the evening hours,” McGee said.
Thornhill currently works the midnight shifts, from 10:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.
McGee said that when the new officers are patrolling the campus, they will look for anyone suspicious, provide escorts when Froggie Five-O isn’t available and lock doors when there aren’t enough security guards.
Chambers, who worked as a licensed correctional officer for Tarrant County Jail before coming to TCU, will be responding to calls and patrolling the campus, McGee said.
TCU hires officers who fit the campus.
McGee said TCU looks for officers who are friendly and customer-service oriented. It also looks for officers who have prior experience as a police officer and who have gone to an accredited police academy.
“We also don’t need the storm trooper-type police officers that you see on COPS and TV shows,” McGee said.
McGee said Thornhill is the perfect match because he worked as a police officer at Tyler Junior College after he graduated from there. He came to TCU for a year and left to work at John Peter Smith Hospital as a police officer for an increase in pay.
“It turns out the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, and he came back to TCU because it was a nice place to work,” McGee said.
Thornhill said TCU Police is able to interact with students through freshman orientation meetings, athletics and Frog Camp.
“Students have a misconception of TCU police officers just writing out parking tickets,” McGee said. “We wish we’d never have to write any, we’d rather just make sure every student is safe.”
Austin Uebele, a junior psychology major and student government representative for the College of Science and Engineering, said students should make sure that police officers can openly interact with the student body.
J.C. Williams, assistant chief of police, said police officers must not only be qualified and educated before they are hired, but they also have to go through psychological and physical exams to ensure that they are capable of fulfilling their duties.
McGee said TCU is authorized to have 23 officers on staff.