RenEarl Bowie shares law enforcement experience in the field and classroom


RenEarl Bowie shares his “real-time” Department of Public Safety experience with criminal justice students.

From his days patrolling Texas’ highways as a state trooper, to his current role in charge of the Regulatory Services Division at the Texas Department of Public Safety, Assistant Director RenEarl Bowie has covered a lot of ground in law enforcement.

As he has risen through the ranks at DPS, Bowie also has served as an adjunct professor of criminal justice at Austin Community College, where he shares his experience with students preparing to enter law enforcement.

“They do value and appreciate that they‘re learning from someone who is doing it real-time,” Bowie says of his students.

Bowie was first drawn to law enforcement during the police ride-alongs he went on as part of the Police Explorers youth program in Copperas Cove. The experience showed him that law enforcement was more than just “arresting bad guys and putting them away.”

“It was the professionalism exhibited by the police officers. That’s what really caught my eye,” he says. “Even under extreme pressure, they remained professional with people.”

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Protecting people is the theme of Bowie’s career. He was promoted from state trooper to the department’s Criminal Intelligence Service, a unit charged with monitoring terrorism threats post-9/11. Subsequent promotions placed him with DPS units that recruit troopers and regulate private security firms. His current division enforces the laws that keep Texans safe and healthy, from prescription drug regulation, to vehicle inspections, and even state Capitol access.

Bowie, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice from Texas State University, advises individuals considering criminal justice careers to explore areas beyond law enforcement, such as corrections and juvenile justice, and to visit with professionals in the field.

Above all else, he says, they should be interested in working with people from all walks of life.

“You have to interact with people from different backgrounds and treat people with dignity, which includes communicating with them effectively,” he says, referring to the single most important skill needed for the job.

While Bowie has come a long way since starting out with the highway patrol in Winnie, Texas, the role of state trooper remains his favorite.

“That position by far is the most prestigious and most satisfying,” he says. “Even though it’s entry level, it’s probably the most challenging and most rewarding position in the agency.”

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