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103rd UT System Police cadet class embodies resilience
The cadets in this year’s UT System Police Academy class got an extra lesson in perseverance. They faced a global pandemic that postponed their start date two times and also had to grapple with many Americans questioning the role of police officers.
“All our cadet classes are special, but this one has been the most resilient,” said Reynaldo Treviño, the Academy Commander and Senior Police Inspector at the UT System Police Training Academy.
The UT System Police Academy honored its 103rd Basic Peace Officer Class with a formal commissioning ceremony earlier this month. The graduating class is composed of 13 cadets representing five institutions: UT Austin, UT San Antonio, UTHealth Houston, UT Medical Branch and Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office.
The class completed its state licensing exams with a 100% passing rate, making it UT System’s 18th consecutive academy class to do so.
Created in 1967 to ‘employ and commission peace officers for the purpose of protecting life and property,’ the UT System Police Department currently deploys 600-plus sworn police officers and more than 900 civilian staff members at 13 UT institutions across the state of Texas.
Though other agencies canceled their academies in response to the pandemic, the UT System Police Academy ultimately was able to continue training by conducting risk assessments and creating new course curriculum to comply with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement’s (TCOLE) new regulations.
“The cadets, we had no idea how much work went on behind the scenes so that the Academy could be held,” said Erich Schroeder, 2021 cadet class president and a former Colorado State Trooper. “There are only four instructors, and I think that’s incredible.”
The UT System Police Department is the third largest state law enforcement agency in Texas. Though TCOLE requires 696 training hours for accreditation, the UT System Basic Peace Officer Course requires 942 hours. Cadets spend two-thirds of their training hours in the classroom learning U.S. and Texas statutes and one-third in physical training and practical simulations.
“If I were to give the Academy a grade, it would be an A-plus,” Cadet Anthony Torns said.
Having spent a large portion of his career working in juvenile correction in inner city New Orleans and Shreveport, Torns saw first-hand the impact of racial and social inequities in his community. After the death of George Floyd last summer, Torns, who is Black, decided he “wanted to be a solution to the problem.”
Torns hopes to use his perspective to “help minority groups that have had bad experiences with the police.” He believes that he can be an influence on college campuses where students are eager to promote social justice but still need guidance.
“My personal motto is ‘never stop learning,’” Torns said. “We’ve just scratched the surface at the Academy and now it’s time for me ‘to learn my flock’ at UT Austin.”
Like Torns, the rest of the cadet class is now prepared to take their posts and fulfill their self-appointed class mission statement:
“Resiliency, our past;
Evolution, our present;
Dedication to our communities, our future.”
By Makayla Vasek, Communications Intern in the Office of Communications & Media Relations
About The University of Texas System
For more than 130 years, The University of Texas System has been committed to improving the lives of Texans and people all over the world through education, research and health care. With 13 institutions, an enrollment of more than 243,000 students and an operating budget of $21.7 billion (FY 2021), the UT System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. UT institutions produce more than 64,000 graduates annually and award more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees and more than half of its medical degrees. Collectively, UT-owned and affiliated hospitals and clinics accounted for more than 8.6 million outpatient visits and almost 1.8 million hospital days in 2020. UT institutions also are among the most innovative in the world, collectively ranking No. 4 for most U.S. patents granted in 2020, and the UT System is No. 1 in Texas and No. 2 in the nation in federal research expenditures. The UT System also is one of the largest employers in Texas, with more than 21,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates and members of the National Academies – and more than 85,000 health care professionals, researchers and support staff.