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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Keith Jemison tapped as first A&M associate vice chancellor of law enforcement and security

Photo by Fayobami Taiwo

Squad car idles in the parking lot of the University Police Department on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023. (Fayobami Taiwo/The Battalion)

Keith Jemison, Ph.D., was named the first associate vice chancellor of law enforcement and security for the Texas A&M System, effective Sept. 1.

When Jemison was offered the position by A&M System Chancellor John Sharp, Jemison said he was “blessed and honored” to receive the role. He said his hiring was proof of A&M’s dedication to building its safety and security.

“There are a lot of people talking about safety and security, but they are not doing anything about it,” Jemison said. “This was [Sharp] really putting his money where his mouth was, and I was impressed with that.”

Jemison received his bachelor’s in criminal justice administration from Columbia College. He then received his master’s in political and justice studies from Governors State University, and later his doctorate in interdisciplinary leadership.

Previously, Jemison served as an assistant chief of police in Missouri City. At Prairie View A&M, he served as the associate vice president for public safety and chief of police. Jemison possesses extensive certifications and licenses, including some issued from the FBI, U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. 

Additionally, Jemison brings military experience to the new role. He served as a communication specialist and parachutist in the U.S. Army for two years. Jemison said he enjoyed everything about the army, from special operations to finding solutions when obstacles arise.

“When I got out of the military, the closest thing that I found — to that type of mentality, that type of creativity, that type of commitment — was the police department,” Jemison said. 

Despite being in the new role for just over a week, Jemison said he is eager to start progressing the A&M system’s law enforcement and security. 

“One of the things that I’ve already done is I’ve met with the director of [A&M Engineering Extension System],” Jemison said. “We are looking at ways that we can integrate [a] process where our law enforcement agencies have access to resources in a way that is a little bit more seamless, in a way that is maybe low cost.”  

Jemison said he wants to create a way for officers to help any of the A&M System’s campuses when a problem arises. 

“I would like to see increased communication,” Jemison said. “I would love to see an ability for us to have a security operation center that provides support to those university police departments.” 

Sharp met with Jemison to discuss his goals, and Jemison said Sharp takes the safety and security of the system seriously. 

“Preparedness was one of the things that he spoke with me about,” Jemison said. “And really making sure that we are prepared equipment-wise, training-wise and that we are moving in a direction where there is synergy amongst all of our components.”

Many students were looking forward to seeing what policies the new leader may enact on A&M’s campus, such as engineering freshman Gabby Gallo.

Gallo said she feels safer knowing Jemison wants to increase communication between the departments. Gallo said she often walks around campus late, especially at night, due to her classes, so she said she is hopeful about what he may accomplish. 

“I would like having more patrol at night, so seeing more [officers] would make me feel safer,” Gallo said. “A lot of times, I walk on campus, and it is just straight up empty and there is no patrol or anything.” 

Although he believes this new role is best for his safety, engineering freshman Karol Dalumpines said he has concerns about whether the new position and initiatives will increase tuition costs.

“I like how the card readers are pretty strict for dorms and other facilities, and I really like how the security has been since I came on campus,” Dalumpines said. 

Jemison said he created a motto when he led at Prairie View A&M. 

“But above all, do right — that should be the spirit of what we’re doing,” Jemison said. “When you come to a crossroads and you’re not sure what to do from a decision-making standpoint, then above all, do right.”

As a child, Jemison said he had a conversation with a police chief that inspired him to be an officer. He said he will always remember the person behind those words. 

“He said to me, ‘The police are the keepers of the children of God,”’ Jemison said. “I just thought that was the coolest, most powerful and most noble thing that I had heard.”

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