Victoria College's first police chief to relocate for new job
By BY J.R. ORTEGA - JRORTEGA@VICAD.COM
June 5, 2012 at 1:05 a.m.
Updated June 6, 2012 at 1:06 a.m.
A LOOK AT THE CYPRESS-FAIRBANKS ISD
A LOOK AT THE CYPRESS-FAIRBANKS ISD• Four special-program facilities
• 11 high schools
• 17 middle schools
• 52 elementary schools
• About 106,000 students were enrolled in the 2010-11 school year.
• At least 60 percent of the school district's 186 square miles has more than 732,546 residents in more than 850 subdivisions and apartment complexes.
SOURCE: Cypress-Fairbanks School District website, cfisd.net
Home is where the heart is - and for Victoria College Police Chief Matt Williams, home will always be Victoria.
Williams, 39, has accepted a position as captain for a command staff with Cypress-Fairbanks school district. The command staff is in charge of creating a police force for the third largest school district in Texas.
The daunting task is a familiar one for Williams, who was hired at Victoria College to create a police force.
"It's going to be a tremendous opportunity," Williams said. "I like a challenge."
Williams has been part of Victoria since he first moved here at age 21. The San Antonio native attended Victoria College's Police Academy and soon after was hired by the Victoria Police Department in 1994.
In 1997, he tried his skill as a school resource officer - a licensed officer who also serves as a counselor and educator and works closely with administrators, students, teachers and parents.
He was at Victoria High School and later at Memorial High School. Williams had known he wanted to become an officer, but he failed to realize that his true calling was working in law enforcement and the education system.
"Honestly, that was my best time in law enforcement," Williams said of his experience as a school resource officer. "The heartbeat of this community centers on the schools."
Former administrators at Victoria College saw this potential in Williams and hired him as the college's first police chief in 2005.
The challenge: create a police force from the ground up.
Williams hit the ground running, starting with hiring officers for the force. Then, eventually, deciding on the uniforms, equipment and vehicles came.
Today, the force is strong, with five licensed police officers, many of whom worked with Williams in the Victoria Police Department. The force also has several non-licensed and civilian police officers.
Victoria College Vice President Keith Blundell has seen Williams progress throughout the seven years.
"He's been a tremendous asset to the college," Blundell said. "We're going to miss him, obviously."
Blundell said the opportunity to do what he's done for the college elsewhere is something that shouldn't be passed up.
Now the hard part is trying to find someone who can do just as great a job, he said.
"He was very smart and personable in his field," he said. "This is an important position at the college."
Williams said the importance of the position only gave him more drive.
Aside from a growing campus police force, the force also works at the college's other campuses in Calhoun and Gonzales counties.
The force's true test happened in September, when a 40-year-old non-student entered the campus and fired a gun in the college's Sports and Fitness Center.
No one was hurt and the man was arrested. Williams said the force responded like a true team, something he'll never forget.
"It was your worst nightmare come true," he said about the shooting. "But this is what you prepare for all your life."
Williams' official last day is Wednesday, and he's set to begin at the northwest Houston school district soon after.
Sgt. Jack Mullins will serve as the interim chief while administration searches for the college's next police chief.
Williams trusts the next person in line will continue the force's success for a growing community and college.
"When you put the blood, sweat and tears into this community, it's hard to leave," he said.