STEPHENVILLE — The Tarleton State University Police Department has earned “recognized” status from the Texas Police Chiefs Association, making it the 165th agency in the state to receive the honor since 2006.
Part of the association’s Law Enforcement Recognition Program, the award follows a critical two-year self-review of department policies, procedures, facilities and operations, plus an on-site review by state police chiefs. Fewer than 200 of the state’s more than 2,000 police departments have earned TPCA recognition.
Fort Worth Police Chief Ed Kraus, a graduate of Tarleton’s Master of Criminal Justice program, presented the award today during ceremonies on the Stephenville campus. The department also will be recognized at TPCA’s annual conference in April 2021.
“Achieving this honor places the University Police Department among the state’s top law enforcement agencies,” Kraus said. “Tarleton can be assured that its police department is following best practices for the safety of students, employees and the Stephenville community.”
TPCA’s recognition program evaluates compliance with nearly 170 best practices for law enforcement operations, including property and evidence management, patrol and investigative protocols, and the protection of individual rights.
Tarleton began national and state safe-campus reports four years ago; it ranked No. 18 among America’s top 50 safest large colleges and universities in 2016 and No. 1 in Texas last year. In 2017 the department celebrated its 50th anniversary with the move to a 4,300-square-foot headquarters on the northwest corner of Frey and Harbin streets.
Part of Tarleton’s Division of Student Affairs, the University Police Department is among the smallest law enforcement agencies in Texas, authorized for 18 officers.
“We may be small in number, but we’re big on meeting the very same standards as larger departments,” said Tarleton Police Chief Matt Welch. “Our officers and staff take great pride in ensuring a safe and secure learning, living and working environment, and providing exemplary service to the university and the Stephenville community.”
Congratulating the department, Student Affairs Vice President Kelli C. Styron said the safety of Tarleton Texans is the university’s top priority. “What an honor to be named among the best law enforcement agencies in Texas! I am extremely proud of this dedicated team of men and women who put themselves on the front lines to protect and serve our institution.”
Others attending this morning’s event were Stephenville Police Chief Dan Harris, Erath County Sheriff Matt Coates, Stephenville Assistant City Manager Jason King and Erath County District Attorney Alan Nash.