New TCU police officers found that a great advantage to their new jobs was building relationships with the students they protect, Officer Kevin Foster said.
Both Foster and Officer James Harrison said they discovered working at the university level allowed for more accessibility to the community they serve. The officers could act as guides to helping the students succeed, Foster said.
“We’re not looking to put anybody in jail or anything like that,” Foster said. “We want to help the students help themselves, and I get a lot of satisfaction doing that.”
Harrison said he believed the smaller setting around campus allowed the officers to interact with students by more than just enforcing the law.
Foster and Harrison were two of the four officers recently added to the TCU Police patrol division after TCU Board of Trustees allotted funds to hire more officers, Lieutenant Ramiro Abad said. With the growth of the community surrounding the university, TCU Police needed more officers to aid in patrolling, Abad said.
The officers were hired over a six-month period, beginning last summer, Abad said. The most recent officers were hired near the end of the fall semester, he said.
Each officer met the requirements set by the university and TCU Police, such as the requirement to be licensed in the state of Texas, Abad said. Then they looked at how well the officers would fit into the TCU community, he said.
“We want the people that work here to be able to interact with the students,” Abad said. “We want them to be supportive and helpful with students.”
These requirements were specific to the needs of a university level of policing, Abad said. All of the officers that were recently hired were retired from the Fort Worth Police Department, Abad said.
Foster and Harrison said they did not have the emphasis of interaction with people at their previous positions. The city level of policing was focused on a broad area of policing and involved more people to work with and protect, Harrison said. This made it difficult, Harrison said, to build strong relationships with the people in a city setting.
However, a huge part of a TCU officer’s job has been interacting and connecting with students, he said.
“You actually can develop relationships and work with the faculty, students and staff and have close relationships with folks which actually is rewarding in-and-of itself,” Harrison said.
As an officer in a city setting, Foster said there are not many opportunities to personally help someone with a problem, but that changed in a university setting. Officers could help students through a myriad of ways, like giving students a ride back to their residence halls, Foster said.
After 25 years of working with the Fort Worth Police Department, becoming a TCU Police officer provided a refreshing change in pace, Harrison said.
Officers become involved by attending events, and some have even taken part in the Frog Camp experience, Abad said. The officers’ involvement helped build a close connection with not only other officers but everyone on campus, he said.
“We want to treat everyone like they are all a part of our family,” Abad said.