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My name is Andrew Converse, and I’ve been with the University of Texas at Austin Police Department for approximately six years. Prior to moving to Austin, I’ve had a range of education and experiences contributing to my career. Early on, I completed my California Peace Officer Standards and Training Certifications (POST) at Irvine Valley College. Later, I worked for the Department of the Navy in Seal Beach, California for around seven years, starting off in an internship program as a Security Guard, and eventually I applied and was hired as a Police Officer.
My first police academy was the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, GA, from which I graduated in 2015. I also had additional jobs working as an investigative assistant for a licensed Private Investigation company, and I ran a pet care business with a myriad of different types of dogs and cats. I’ve met so many amazing and knowledgeable people over the years.
In late 2015, I met my wife while on vacation in Austin, and quickly started looking for job opportunities in the area. I had experience in explosives detection at my previous job, but I didn't have many opportunities in my region to do what I loved doing: working with Police K9s. I saw that University of Texas at Austin Police Department had their own K9 unit, did some research, and saw that their K9s were dual purpose (explosives detection and patrol).
I applied and was hired, with hopes of eventually pursuing a position in the K9 unit. After graduating from the police academy in Texas in 2017, I began working at Dell Seton Medical Center UT on nightshift. While there, I also tried to work with UTPD’s K9 unit as a decoy as often as I could. These are the individuals that get in the protective suits and interact with the handlers and their K9s. I eventually moved to patrol on dayshift, where I also worked as a District Representative, meeting with many members of the community, discussing issues with them, doing presentations, and doing a lot of listening.
In 2019, I applied for the position of K9 handler and was selected. I was assigned my K9, Kovu, in the fall of 2019. Kovu lives with me, my wife, and our other dog. He is a giant goofball but is astonishingly intelligent and skilled. We have an incredible bond. The position of K9 handler is incredibly rewarding, and I couldn’t be happier. I am constantly being humbled by the prowess and knowledge of people in this field and am so thankful that I have so many of them to learn from. There is a LOT to learn.
In addition to my K9 duties, I have been one of the main presenters for the “CRASE” training class which stands for Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events. It is honestly very upsetting and tragic that there is such a need for this class, but I have really tried to commit to distilling the core concepts of the training and disseminate the information to as many people as possible.
I am so grateful to be part of a department that has provided me so many opportunities to better myself, work with the community, and help others.