For Women’s History Month, UT Police is featuring women in our department who are making a difference to their team and their community. Here, we share a conversation with Aleisha Drexler, Manager of Public Safety.
You were recently promoted to your current position. Can you tell us about your career with UT Police?
My career with UT Police began in 2006 when I was hired as a Public Safety Officer (PSO). I could see there was room for growth with the department if I pursued it. At the time, I didn't know what starting as a PSO with UT Police would lead to, but here I am now as Manager of Public Safety. I'm very happy with the years I've had here and the years to come.
Attending college can be difficult for those working shifts. What challenges did you face?
I enrolled at Houston Community College Southeast (HCCS) shortly after joining UT Police. My children were a big motivation to pursue my education. I wanted them to be able to say, “My mom went to college. I want to follow in her footsteps.” I wanted them to know that college was for everyone.
When I first started as a PSO, I was on the night shift and had to balance work and school. About 8 months later, my days off changed to Mondays and Wednesdays. Between school, work and with 3 children at home at that time, the change to my off days was a huge relief and made for a much better life balance. The switch helped tremendously because classes were usually scheduled M/W or Tu/Th. So, instead of going to school every day, I had a free day off in between and longer days off from class. Monday/Wednesday classes were still tough because I had 4, sometimes 5, classes in one day. But my mission was to get school completed by any means necessary. Luckily, I had a Captain that was supportive of my continuing education which was very helpful.
It helped you complete your graduation.
Yes! I graduated from HCCS in 2009 with my Associate of Arts with honors! I started attending the University of Houston Downtown (UHD) 3 months later in 2009. I continued working as a PSO full time, attending classes at UHD, and, of course, I continued my mom duties. I’m proud to say I graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice, cum laude.
How did your new degree help you?
I’d always wanted to promote and grow within the police department. I even thought of going to the police academy in Austin but I would have had to leave my kids at home while I attended, and by this time I had four children. Instead, I decided to apply for the position of Police Telecommunicator. I had no dispatching experience but was ready and eager to learn. I was fortunate to receive the job offer and was promoted from PSO to Police Telecommunicator in 2013.
How was your new role different from being a PSO?
I learned, trained, and took in all dispatch had to offer. I applied for a Senior Police Telecommunicator position in 2015 but didn’t get selected. However, I didn’t let that stop me.
I let it motivate me. I stayed committed and worked harder, and it paid off when I applied and was promoted to Lead Police Telecommunicator in 2017. I was nervous but ready for the role since it was very different being on the police radio and handling emergency calls versus answering the phones. The transition suited me. I excelled in dispatch and loved the interactions with the police officers and USO staff.
You were recently promoted to Manager of Public Safety.
I was! I was still eager to continue promoting within the department knowing there were more opportunities for me to advance. When the position of Manager of Public Safety opened up, I applied immediately. I had all the requirements but had never been in a management position before.
Even though I was nervous to try something completely different, I decided to go for it so I could at least say I applied. Thankfully, I got the email that let me know I had been scheduled to interview for the position. This included two separate interviews with two different teams. I was beyond excited when I got the offer for the job! I began my new role this January. I’m still adjusting to the role and am so grateful for this new opportunity. I know there will be challenges, but I’m looking forward to excelling once again.
Do you have additional plans to continue your education?
My future goals revolve around getting my MBA from UHD which I’m planning on starting this Fall. And in a couple years, perhaps there will be an opportunity for me to promote again within the department.
What do you do in your free time?
I’m an avid reader, a planner, and a mom of four. My oldest daughter lives on her own, two of my sons are away attending college, and my youngest son is nine years old. I also have a 4-year-old grandson. In my spare time, I love to take on crafting and planning projects. From time to time, I even meet up with ladies from all around the U.S. for crafting sessions via Zoom.