Interview by Joey Galvan, Reporter
Photo by Clarissa Peereboom, Photo Editor
Chief Dixon is in his second year as ACC District Police Chief. A retired state trooper with more than 21 years of service, he is also an ACC adjunct professor with a masters degree in criminology. Dixon spoke with Accent about his department’s role in campus security.
ACCENT: Is the ACC Police Department (ACCPD) a private entity or is it linked to the Austin Police Department (APD)?
DIXON: ACCPD is a full-fledged police department with jurisdiction (authority) in all counties where ACC has a campus or facilities.
ACCENT: What sort of training do ACCPD officers receive and is it similar to that of the APD?
DIXON: Our officers receive the same minimum training as APD officers and then we train them in job specifics like first-aid, fire extinguisher training, arms use and we also teach them active-shooter training like APD.
ACCENT: What are the most common issues campus police deal with?
DIXON: Theft. Students not being mindful of their own stuff. They leave it lying around, come back and it’s gone.
ACCENT: Given the recent tragedies involving gun violence in Aurora, Colo. and Newtown, Conn., how
would you rate ACC in terms of gun violence and campus safety? Are our campuses safe?
DIXON: I think we’re well prepared should something happen although we hope that it doesn’t. I would not be afraid for my daughter to attend any of these campuses.
ACCENT: What can students do to prepare for an on-campus incident involving a mass-shooting?
DIXON: The thing that I recommend is to do something. If it involves just closing the door, locking it, getting down and turning off the lights — do something. Don’t just be a sitting duck so to speak. And above all, do what the police tell you to do.
ACCENT: In more routine situations what precautions should students take to maximize their safety on campus?
DIXON: No. 1 is situational awareness. If you’re walking to your car, keep your keys in your hand ready to go. Look around your environment and if you see something you don’t like, point it out. We may not like it either, but if you don’t tell us we won’t know about it.
To hear an audio clip from Accent’s interview with the chief click here.
Editor’s Note: This interview has been condensed and edited.