San Jacinto College police department introduces new look and message
PASADENA, Texas — With new leadership comes a new look and message. After eight months on the job with San Jacinto College (SJC), Chief Jeffrey Van Slyke has transformed the police department to "mirror the community it serves."
In less than a year, the SJC police department has jumped from 22 to 35 personnel; covered all 21 shifts with full-time SJC officers and a supervisor; and purchased a variety of patrol vehicles, including bikes, SUVs and golf carts. Heath Cariker will serve as the department’s new assistant chief, bringing with him more than 11 years of higher education law enforcement experience. Van Slyke said the department’s overall goal is to increase positive and informative communication between students and officers.
"When I first came here, we did not have a complement of full-time police officers for the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift, weekends, or holidays," said Van Slyke, who holds more than 20 years of higher education public safety experience. "This did not give us a good comfort level. We began recruiting more officers through a rigorous hiring process to ensure we got the best out there, the right fit for our campuses."
Van Slyke said a 2010 International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) report recommended improvements to the department, in which he was assigned the responsibility of implementing. The report included communication between the department and the College community, department image, public safety education, a restructuring of the department, and acquiring resources essential to compliment the operations of a legitimate police department.
"So far, we have about 75 percent of these accomplished," said Van Slyke. "We've reorganized the department, covered all 21 shifts, and purchased new vehicles to replace those that no longer pass inspection."
Along with department logistics, Van Slyke is also on a mission to revamp the image of public safety officers in general - one that coincides more with education, rather than a badge.
"Every day, I make an effort to positively communicate with students, promoting public safety,” said Van Slyke. “I often remind students, faculty, and staff regarding the concept of community-oriented policing that each of you are a C.O.P., Citizen On Patrol, and that we all need to partner together in our effort to promote and maintain a safe and secure campus environment."
Van Slyke added that there will be a higher degree of presence across the College, using every opportunity to engage the College community in awareness of public safety.
“I have advised the officers that in addition to what you have on your duty belt, you're also an educator,” said Van Slyke. “This means using every opportunity you have to meet with a student as a learning moment, both what you can do to mentor students with a nugget of wisdom, as well as glean information from students that help officers keep pace with the College's education and social environment."
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for 50 years. The College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of more than 29,000 students in over 140 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career-track choices. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.
For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, visit www.sanjac.edu, or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SanJacintoCollege.