By Karla Meza
The Amarillo College police department exists to protect and serve the students and staff at the college.
The police officers on campus are Texas licensed peace officers under the Texas education code Sec. 51, 203, allowing them to have the full range of authority as any police officer in the state of Texas. The AC police department currently has 10 officers and two dispatchers. They often patrol the AC campuses both on foot and in their patrol vehicles. They offer many services for the staff and students, but officers say that student safety and well-being is their main priority.
“I know if you have night classes and feel unsafe you can call and they can escort you to your car, which I think is awesome,” Andrea Ruiz, a business management major, said.
The officers also assist students who have locked their keys inside their vehicle or who have a dead battery.
“I think it’s nice that we have them on campus if we ever need them,” Amber Martinez, a nuclear medicine major, said.
“The Amarillo College police department has helped me and my family out many times,” Shaylienn Keeling, a biology major, said. “They’ve always been very kind and understanding. I respect them and I’m very grateful for their service.”
Zack Coleman is the newest member of the campus police force.
“Working here has been amazing,” he said.
Coleman was hired in mid-November. He’s been a police officer for six years. He has worked for the Dalhart police department, Randall County and the Hereford police department.
Coleman said that after since working at AC for only three months, he loves the college community. He is also an alumni of the Amarillo College police academy and said he enjoys his fellow police officers and loves the small and family oriented community that AC provides.
Coleman said the COVID-19 pandemic has not had a significant impact on the AC police department. They still answer calls and show up for emergencies and they wear their masks and stay at a distance if possible
“We want to serve and protect the students on campus and provide education as well as continue to be safe and follow the policies set by the governor and the president,” Coleman said.