Over 200 University of Houston students, faculty, and staff descended on M.D. Anderson Library, for the third iteration of Behind the Badge, the community engagement event allows the campus community to meet, converse, and learn about the local law enforcement agencies and university departments supporting safety on campus.
Aside from the University of Houston Police Department, local law enforcement agencies in attendance included the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Harris County Precinct 6, Houston Metro Police, Sugar Land Police Department, and the Rice University Police Department.
Administration and Finance departments in attendance included departments like Campus Safety, Cougar Card Services, Parking & Transportation, and FIXIT.
The three-hour event allowed students to meet the officers who patrol UH and Houston. One of those officers was HCSO Deputy Laura Magallanes.
The deputy said it was important for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office to be at the Behind the Badge event because it allows the agency to speak with college students about the free resources available to them that could help them in the future.
Deputy Magallanes said most of the questions she received were related to the Tow-and-Go program and about texting emergencies to 911.
Education was top of mind throughout the event as attendees learned about programs and services and met and conversed with officers.
Linda Garza, Executive Director of Business Services, enjoyed learning how one can connect with the different campus safety departments and appreciated that agencies outside of the university were also present.
Postbaccalaureate Anthony Oranday attended the event because he wanted to learn more about the people behind the badge who work in law enforcement.
“It breaks down that wall, and you understand that these are also people. These aren’t just like people who don’t have emotions. They’re not robots. They’re not autonomous,” said Oranday.
Aside from meeting and conversing with officers, Oranday said he learned more about the role of the Houston Metro Police in Houston and about the Campus Safety certification programs available like CERT.
“People want to take the Community Emergency Response Team training. It’s a big commitment, but I’m excited that they want to take it,” said Director of Emergency Management Ginger Walker. “They have also asked a lot of questions about fire safety and making sure that they know what to do as well as hurricane preparedness. So, it’s been very successful.”
Sophomore Risa Lizcano, an SGA Senator, wanted to attend Behind the Badge because, as an SGA member, she felt it was important to get to know the different safety campus departments.
Behind the Badge humanizes law enforcement agencies while giving departments that support safety an opportunity to educate the campus community on resources.
Revisit the Behind the Badge event in the photo gallery on Campus Snapshots.
grapics by kathy fieldcamp