Spotlight on UT Police at Houston: Police Officer of the Year Walter Spivey

December 01, 2023 By: Sherneka Cagle

Spotlight on UT Police at Houston: Police Officer of the Year Walter Spivey

UT Police consists of police officers, public safety officers, telecommunicators and many other civilian employees. All these employees contribute to the success of our division. To provide our community with more information about those who work hard daily to ensure safety in our community, we bring the Spotlight on UT Police at Houston series. This interview series will provide information about the people that make up UT Police. This interview was conducted with the 2023 Police Officer of the Year, Sergeant Walter Spivey.

Sergeant Walter Spivey was promoted to his current rank in 2022. The lieutenant who nominated him for the award described him as a person who has models safe and ethical behavior that mitigates risk to the institution through sound business practices.

Q: Can you tell us about your career in law enforcement?

Growing up, I’ve always had a profound respect for the brave men and women who put on the uniform to protect and serve. My father was a police officer and inspired me to pursue a career in law enforcement in a federal, state, or municipal organization. I started my journey in law enforcement as a U.S. Army Military Police Officer where I gained extensive knowledge of police, corrections, and security operations and procedures. I attended the U.S. Army Basic Combat Training and Military Police School at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and was stationed at Fort Polk, Louisiana.

Throughout my law enforcement career, I have carried the seven Army core values of Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage (LDRSHIP), and I now apply them as a Police Sergeant with UT Police. My goal is to continue my development personally and professionally while climbing the career ladder.

Q: Can you tell us about your career with UT Police?

I began my career at UT Police in 2019 as a Police Cadet where I attended and graduated from the University of Texas System Police Academy. I returned from the academy as a Probationary Police Officer in the field training program where I worked with and learned from very good Field Training Officers. I was inspired to give back to the department by becoming a Field Training Officer and share my knowledge and experience with new police officers here at UT Police. I truly enjoy being a positive influence on our police officers and public safety officers while encouraging them to be the best version of themselves.

My career at UT Police has been very rewarding and fulfilling thus far. I have achieved multiple awards, recognitions, certifications, and was promoted to the rank of sergeant in my third year with the division. I have built strong bonds with fellow officers, sergeants, lieutenants, dispatchers, and public safety officers/supervisors during my tenure here at UT Police. In fiscal year 2022, I had a friendly competition with one of my fellow officers to see who would win the Officer of the Year award. I ended up getting the honor in 2023, but the genuine camaraderie and uplifting of each other makes what we do so much easier and enjoyable. 

I have had the luxury of taking advantage of numerous training opportunities and refresher courses to enhance my career here at UT Police. I have been assigned to day shift, evening shift, and night shift during my time at UT Police. Our recent captain asked me which shift I liked working the best now that I’ve worked all three shifts and I replied, “It’s not really work when you love what you do”. I pride myself in proactive policing, deterring criminal activity, and keeping the MD Anderson and UTHealth Houston communities safe.

Q: What has been the most challenging (or rewarding) case you have worked during your time with UT Police?

I really relish helping people and assisting those in need. I would say the most rewarding case I have worked at UT Police was preventing a suicidal woman from jumping off the Brays Bayou Bridge. Being able to stop her from seriously harming herself, or worse, and getting her the help she needed was immensely important to me.

Q: At this year’s Promotion and Awards ceremony, you were recognized for completing a degree in higher education. What was that degree and how do you feel that has enhanced your performance at UT Police?

I achieved a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree. I believe that the degree has enhanced my performance at UT Police by honing my interpersonal skills and improving my listening, written, and oral communication skills. It has also developed my understanding of the criminal justice system, policing, and human behavior.

Q: What advice would you give to someone looking to begin or has recently begun a career in law enforcement?

The advice I would give is that you are joining a well-respected profession. You are in a position to give back to your community and do something positive to help society. You are becoming a role model and you are someone that people look to in their time of need. We are honored and blessed to be entrusted by the public to uphold the law, as well as protect and serve the community. Never take this career for granted.

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