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Greg Gaona, UT Medical Branch Galveston - Featured Officer of the Month

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Officer of the Month

All my life I have been part of a team. From playing sports to being a member of Boy Scout Troop 123, I have learned from an early age the value of hard work, team work and the importance and integrity of a uniform. This  has helped me become successful in my endeavors early on to being inducted into the Little League Hall of Fame and also achieving the highest rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts. I believe the hard work and success at a young age prepared me for the path I would take as an adult especially a career in law enforcement.

It was not my original plan to become a police officer. My father, step father and uncle were all police officers but I had other plans. I was studying to be an architect but realized I really do not like math and I am extremely nosey, so in 1998 that’s when I decided to apply at UTMB for an open guard position.  I got the job and then was set on going to the next police academy. I was accepted for the fall academy in 1999, graduated in December of 1999 and returned to start my career as a police officer.

In September of 2001 I was assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division where I have worked on many cases both simple and complex. I have also had the opportunity to assist in investigations with other components and outside agencies. In 2010 I was assigned to serve as the departments Intelligence officer. Currently I am working towards obtaining an Intelligence Analyst certification and I am a member in good standing with the International Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts (IALEA) and have been since 2013.

In 2016 I took on a secondary duty to my investigative role and completed an Explosives Dog Handler/ Patrol Dog Handler course and serve as one of UTMB Police Department Canine Team’s and I am a current member of Dogs for Law Enforcement (DLE).  UTMBPD has two of the 3 Explosive Dog Teams in Galveston County and we have been called upon to assist local agencies for major incidents such as the shooting at the San Luis Hotel where we assisted Galveston PD SWAT Teams clearing buildings and the Santa Fe High School Active Shooter incident where my children go to school.  Even though much of the work we do as an explosives detection team is rewarding to know you did your part to make people safe, I can tell you that almost every time we start to work a scene I look at my partner Canine Jay and say “why couldn’t you be a narcotics dog”!

In October of 2016 I attended a First Responder to Biosafety/Biosecurity course at the 2016 ABSA International: The Association for Biosafety and Biosecurity Conference and returned motivated to integrate intelligence in biosecurity to help develop ways to mitigate potential insider threats for the Galveston National Lab (GNL). In 2018 I then became a member of ABSA International and I am currently working to become a speaker at future ABSA International Conferences on topics involving Biosecurity for First Responders, Do It Yourself Labs and Insider Threats in the Biosecurity workplace. I am also working with UTMB Environmental Health and Safety to develop “Go-Bags” that are functional in the day to day activities for officers and issues that they deal with.

I am a TCOLE Instructor and can teach Canine Encounters, Crime Scene Investigation, Eyewitness Identification and ASP Baton. I have served as the Departments Evidence Custodian since 2001, I have over 18 years of law enforcement experience all with the UT System and I hold a Master Peace Officer Certification with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. I am a Senior Detective and currently lead the Criminal Investigations Team which consists of a very competent team of three detectives. I credit all of these opportunities to the UTMB Police Department and the Office of Director of Police, for trusting me and allowing me to grow and be a part of the UT Police Family and cannot express my thanks enough. This has been a rewarding 20 years, with many more left, to be a part of one of the greatest teams in the State of Texas, to continue to help serve and protect the UT community, and the State of Texas.