New homegrown police chief implements safety programs

Photo by SONNET RELPH | The Ranger
Amarillo College Police Chief Steve Chance displays a sign to be placed in a campus parking lot. Chance was the interim chief for the past four months and was named chief on Jan. 1.

Officer Steve Chance, interim police chief the past four months, became the official police chief at Amarillo College on Jan. 1.

Chance also serves as the AC emergency management coordinator.

He graduated from AC’s Law Enforcement Academy when it was in Ordway Hall on the Washington Street Campus. He’s been a police officer at AC for almost 13 years and has worked in law enforcement for 32 years and nine months.

“Having Steve as our new chief is the best thing that has happened to the AC Police Department in a long time,” said Darryl Moore, a crime prevention and criminal investigation officer. “He has a vision for us, and it’s all good.”

Although the chief’s time at AC has given him a deep sense of responsibility toward the students, faculty and staff, he said he believes it’s important for everyone to remember that crime prevention is a shared responsibility. He said police, faculty, staff and students have to work together to reduce the potential for incidents occurring by being more aware.

Chance’s enthusiasm for his job is evident when he begins talking about the plans he has for improving safety at AC.

Some programs already are being implemented, he said, including the protective chaperon service.

It provides a police escort to and from student vehicles and is an important resource for female students.

Breanna Garcia, a nursing major, said she felt much safer when she used the service three times last semester after another student began bothering her.

“It is a really good idea, and it was really convenient since I was on campus and so were they,” she said.

Other programs include the crime prevention program and the whistle program, which provides a safety whistle to female students to help reduce the likelihood of becoming the victim of robbery, rape or other violent crime.

There also are educational safety classes and new signage for the parking lot safety program. Classes are available to any AC class or organization that requests them.

The police department also distributes a crime prevention pamphlet.

After a threat analysis was done of AC campuses, Chance said he determined that greater awareness of issues and increased officer patrols in potentially hazardous areas could drastically reduce the opportunity for crime to occur.

He said he also chose to permanently place individual officers on each of the six campuses to reduce crime.

“I take my job very seriously,” Chance said. “My department makes every effort to protect the 11,000 students who attend Amarillo College, and we are very vigilant in fulfilling our duties. This job isn’t for everyone.

“Individuals who are considering law enforcement as their career path should only do so if they feel strongly that this is what they’re supposed to be doing.”

Anyone who needs assistance can contact the ACPD at:

2201 S. Washington St.
111-A Durrett Hall
Amarillo, TX 79109
(806) 371-5161.

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