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UPD officer moonlights as student

By Meredith Shaw
On November 22, 2010

It is a rare occurrence for a person to be taking the same college class as the police officer who recently gave them a parking ticket. However, this situation is normal for Arlan Williams, a University Police Department (UPD) officer and a full-time student at A&M-Commerce. 


"I actually took the job here so that I could take classes," Williams said. "I knew it was going to be tough being a student and working for the UPD, but I felt like I needed to do it."


Williams has been working for the UPD for eight years and was the Chief of Police in Como before taking the job in Commerce.


"I do normal police patrol type stuff," Williams said. "I unlock cars, jump start batteries, anything specific to this university and the students and faculty here."


When he isn't patrolling the campus, Williams focuses on his math, sociology, astronomy and English courses.


"I decided to take the classes and work on getting another degree because I like to learn," Williams said. "When you quit learning, you quit breathing."


Williams is majoring in construction technology, criminal justice and sociology with a minor in agriculture.


"The agriculture and construction technology is for my own personal benefit because I have some property I'm interested in working with," Williams said. "The criminal justice is going to help with my job and the sociology helps me relate to and understand other people while I'm working."


Williams has earned degrees from Orange Coast College in Southern California, A&M-Commerce, Kilgore College, North East Texas Community College and Cisco College.


"This time around, I am a whole lot older and learn a whole lot slower," Williams said. "But I am definitely enjoying it. I like being able to learn and go to school with all these kids. It keeps me young."


Freshman Tana Hall said she enjoys having math class with Williams and seeing him around campus.


"The first day of class, he gave up his seat for me so I could sit by a friend," Hall said. "But I didn't know at first that he worked for the UPD. He wasn't wearing a uniform. Once I learned he was a police officer, I thought it was so cool he was in the same class as me. When I see him driving around campus in his cop car I'm always like, ‘Hey, I'm in the same math class as him'"


Williams is also in the same math class is Colton Bullock, who said Williams is just like all the other students in their class.


"If he has a question about a problem, he'll ask," Bullock said. "He's also pretty funny, always cracking jokes while the teacher is busy. He's kind of the class clown."


Williams said his favorite class is probably his sociology class because it is more people-oriented, but he also likes the criminal justice classes.


"I've also been really interested in my astronomy class," Williams said. "I have absolutely no background in this subject, but it is fascinating to me."


Williams said in today's work field, a person needs a degree to find a job, and that is why he decided to get some more degrees while working in Commerce.


"Today a Master's is what a Bachelor's use to be," Williams said. "And if you don't have at least a Bachelor's in something, people won't even give you the time of day."  


Williams is also a member of three honors societies in his fields and was named one of Who's Who Among America's College Students.


"I'm also in the agricultural fraternity," Williams said. "It is fun. I thought since I'm here, why not have the full college experience. I'm enjoying every minute of it."

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