After the retirements of several UTPD officers, the department promoted 10 associate officers as part of its efforts to reorganize the department Monday.
UTPD chief David Carter said the promotions are significant for many reasons because the organization lost more than 100 years of senior leadership through retirements. The promotions included six officers to sergeants, three sergeants to lieutenants and one lieutenant to captain.
“Those people will be missed, and they cannot be replaced,” Carter said. “When you look at the people that are promoted to a senior leadership positions, you’re going to have great confidence and recognize that these new leaders coming into this organization will bring new ideas, be innovative and bring a renewed sense of energy to UTPD that we truly need.”
Patricia Clubb, vice president for University Operations, said new leadership is critical for the organization.
“There’s always a time any leader — no matter how successful they’ve been — may move on to other things, and it creates opportunity for everyone,” Clubb said. “We’ve had great success from everyone throughout the police department, and so it is wonderful when we have the opportunity for promotions.”
Carter, now in his seventh month as UTPD chief, said he is still in the process of reorganizing the department. Alongside the promotions, he said he plans to launch dedicated bicycle officer shifts after police cadets finish training with both the UT System Police Academy and UTPD. In addition, Carter said he wants to create a special projects division to help forecast and plan for the new police districts, such as the medical campus, as well as hire a new full-time crime analyst to see what is going on outside the parameters of campus.
Newly promoted sergeant Jason Taylor said he felt honored to receive a promotion but said he felt strange being called under a new title.
“I’ve been a police officer for 15 years, and to suddenly be called by a different rank is interesting,” Taylor said. “It’ll just take some time to get used to that. Everyone’s been pretty positive about it, so I don’t think it’ll be too bad of transition.”
Taylor said he was one of the lead officers who helped start the K-9 Unit more than 10 years ago. He said he will continue those duties, alongside additional responsibilities with his new title, which include serving as a patrol sergeant during the day shift.
“When we get staffed up, I’ll probably have six officers under me,” Taylor said. “There are the administrative duties of scheduling, payroll-type things, evaluations and counseling. In addition to that, I’ll manage our fleet of vehicles.”
Carter said he wants to foster better communication between officers and students to address important issues.
“One of the things I really want to do is [have] even more interactions and one-on-one exposure between [the] police officer out there and the student out walking around, so that they can talk and exchange their own concerns and ideas,” Carter said.
Taylor said he believes in the department and its future regardless of any staffing changes.
“We have a lot of great people and great resources here,” Taylor said. “We also have a lot of young people coming on. [The department] has ten cadets in the academy right now, and they’re all coming to UT-Austin. I really hope I can be a positive influence on the officers. Somebody who they can look up … to provide support and be there for them to help them move along in their careers.”