Kelvin Allen has seen law enforcement evolve significantly since he was one of the first graduates of Victoria College’s Law Enforcement Academy in 1982.
“Most of the police officers when I started were all former military, but today they come from many different backgrounds,” said Kelvin, who attended one of VC’s first academies in 1982.
Among those taking a less-traditional path into the law enforcement profession is Allen’s son, Branden, who graduated from VC’s Law Enforcement Academy in 2010 and is employed by the Victoria Police Department.
“At first, I hoped Branden would have picked something else,” Kelvin said. “But I don’t worry too much about him because I know he has been trained so well.”
Kelvin joined the U.S. Marines Corps in 1974 after graduating from high school. He served in a naval security group for three years and reached the rank of sergeant. After his military discharge, Kelvin returned to Victoria and worked in wireline services in the oil field and at Victoria Machine Works. Not long after he was laid off, Kelvin received a phone call from the Victoria Police Department in 1982.
“They asked me if I wanted to apply,” Kelvin said. “I did. A few days later, they told me to come down and speak with them. I thought it was just going to be a sit-down interview, so I went down there in cowboy boots. But during the interview, they said, ‘We want you to run 100 yards.’ So I did.”
Kelvin was hired, and VPD paid for his tuition to attend VC’s Law Enforcement Academy.
“The instructors were peace officers from several different agencies who brought years of experience and passed on that knowledge to us,” Kelvin said.
Kelvin’s law enforcement career included positions as a field training officer, a school resource officer and a sergeant over the juvenile unit. He also worked as an investigator for VPD and the Victoria County District Attorney’s Office and held a corporal position in the court unit at the Victoria County Sheriff’s Office. Kelvin retired from the sheriff’s office in 2013 after serving more than 30 years in law enforcement with various agencies.
The younger Allen graduated from Victoria High School in 2003. During the next six years, he took courses at Victoria College and the University of Houston-Victoria while working full time for Culligan Water. After he obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice at UHV, Branden was hired by the Victoria Police Department and enrolled in VC’s Law Enforcement Academy.
“I had great professors at VC who worked with me and helped me develop study habits to succeed in college,” Branden said. “The tutoring services were great and helped me tremendously.”
Branden graduated from the academy and began working as a patrol officer in January 2010. He was soon promoted to field training officer and became a member of the SWAT team in 2012. He recently received his Master Peace Officer license, which is the highest level a Texas peace officer can achieve.
“At the end of the day, it’s a great career,” said Branden. “You make a huge impact on a lot of folks just by the little things you do each day.”
Branden, who was named VPD’s Officer of the Year in 2017, said he remains passionate about enforcing traffic safety.
“We lose about 3,200 Texans every year in roadway fatalities,” Branden said. “We’ve led the nation for a very long time. The last day we didn’t have a death on a roadway in Texas was Nov. 7, 2000. My goal is to have a year here in Victoria with no fatalities and have one day in Texas again with no fatalities.
“When I stop people, I am often asked why I don’t ‘go catch some real criminals.’ I tell them I am because every two hours and 25 minutes a traffic violation results in a fatality. In nearly every fatality I have worked, there was a traffic violation committed that contributed to the crash.”
VC’s Law Enforcement Academy has graduated 94 classes of peace officers since it began in 1982. Successful completion of the academy leads to a Basic Peace Officer Certificate and allows students to take the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement examination to become certified peace officers in Texas.
“Victoria College has a great reputation for having one of the best academies in the state of Texas,” said Branden, who also instructs in the academy. “When people say they graduated from VC’s academy, it goes a long way toward them getting a job. The graduates are prepared coming right out of the gate.”