A Day in the Life of UT Police: A Ride Along with Sgt. Alondra Jones

May 06, 2024
Victoria Vazquez

A Day in the Life of UT Police: A Ride Along with Sgt. Alondra Jones

This April and as part of our team’s enhanced recruitment efforts, Senior Community Relations Specialist Victoria Vazquez tagged along with Sergeant Alondra Jones to show our Instagram followers – and potential future UT Police Officers – a peek at what a day looks like for UT Police officers. In this article, Vazquez shares details of her special ride-along. 

Ride along with us on our Instagram page to see how the day unfolded live.  

The morning is cloudy but bustling at the UT Police headquarters. Sgt. Alondra Jones, a seasoned officer with an impressive 13-year tenure with UT Police, has enthusiastically allowed me to shadow her. Her shift began at 6:45 a.m. on this day, and it is nearly 30 minutes past the 9 o’clock hour when I stand outside our building to wait for Jones to pick me up in her patrol vehicle. My phone – fully charged – is ready to capture the day’s events in real-time for our Instagram followers. 

She greets me with a smile and great energy, and I hop in. First post, complete!  

Our journey begins with a check-in with Officer Michael Andrade, who is on his in-car laptop, known as the MDT or mobile data terminal, writing a report on a University Housing resident's unfortunate encounter with slashed tires earlier this morning. He is able to do this stationed in his patrol vehicle at the address of the incident which to me seems a perk. Jones agrees and says it is a huge upgrade from having to handwrite reports back at headquarters, constantly driving to and from. Now they can get the task done more efficiently and swiftly. We chat briefly with Andrade, and I snap another picture that goes straight to the ‘gram.  

With our first check-in out of the way, we head out to continue the day’s duties. Jones checks her MDT for incidents and whereabouts of her officers on duty.  

For now, everything seems to be handled, so we cautiously patrol throughout MD Anderson and UTHealth Houston campuses, Jones’ eyes scan for anything looking suspicious or disruptions, including malfunctioning traffic lights. I joined in too listening to Jones as she underscores the importance of such vigilance. These malfunctions can impact the flow of traffic for both pedestrians and vehicles, which could lead to panic and stress, so finding any disruptions in their early stage is crucial.  

This type of vigilance continues throughout the day anytime we are cruising along the streets of the bustling medical center. I snapped another picture at the sights of the tall buildings and busy streets of MetroRail trains, medical workers, patients, and visitors all headed to their destinations. 

As we cruise, I ask Jones about the deployment of officers to the different areas they patrol. How are they assigned? Do they stay at their assigned area each day? She tells me that the designation lies in the hands of the sergeants on shift. So, that means it’s part of her duties every day. Every sergeant assigns differently, but she likes to switch up the areas for her officers. She ensures that they get thorough rotations of assigned patrol areas so they have current knowledge of the infrastructure, which is ever-changing due to continuous construction projects. 

As we drive past Braes Bayou, our plans take an unexpected yet predictable turn. A panic alarm alert pierces the air in the car, signaling a potential emergency. Over the radio system, Jones and fellow officers verify the nature of the alarm, showcasing seamless communication. We head to the scene, my phone ready to capture the next task ahead.  

Luckily it was a false alarm, but that didn’t stop fellow Sergeant Gabe Wisneski and other officers who were near the alarm from responding. Jones checks in with them, walks the space, and ensures all is safe. I post a couple quick videos online to entertain viewers. The two sergeants then take a moment to debrief the situation in the hallway.  

With the alarm cleared, Jones is once again juggling multiple responsibilities. She addresses questions regarding a water leak with Police Officer Roy Lee and ensures the well-being of public safety officers stationed at MD Anderson’s Main Building. Along the way, we are chatted up by a friendly patient in the hallway who tells us she’s headed to the newly opened art room and if we haven’t seen it, we should. So, we follow along and take a quick detour. 

Video clips of Jones engaging with an art wall and sound bowls is a bonus addition to the day’s posts, and a delightful mental health break. 

As we wind through the building, she makes sure to connect with patients by greeting them and even offers directional assistance to a lost visitor. With each wave and hello, she epitomizes being a reassuring presence on our campus. 

A brief lunch break squeezed in amidst the day's demands allows Jones and I a moment to recharge. I can’t help myself but to take an obligatory boomerang of our delicious po boys!  

As we tik toward the end of her shift, Jones checks the MDT and dives into “report review” mode. She takes stock of the day's incidents, ensuring no loose ends linger in the logbook.  

Jones then heads to the garage next to headquarters and does a thorough check of her patrol vehicle. She makes sure her personal belongings are out, and that it’s ready for the next shift. I watch as she explains where all the supplies that are needed in law enforcement are stored in the vehicle, each having their unique space. I listen and take a short video clip.  

And with that, we headed back to headquarters to end the shift. What a day!  

Riding passenger seat in a patrol vehicle this day offered a unique perspective to the contributions of the many officers who I see regularly. There are many more aspects to the job that are beyond what a ‘typical’ day like today offered, but the hours spent with Jones brought newfound appreciation and respect for the law enforcement profession. 

Overall, my day was a 10 out of 10! The diligence of always being aware of our surroundings is told to us often, but seeing Jones’s heightened and constant alertness had me realizing I could do better myself! I saw these devoted police officers exhibit their dedication to keeping the campuses safe and making real connections with our community and I loved every minute of it.

 

Interested in a career in law enforcement? Visit our Careers webpage to learn about opportunities with our team! 

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