(HARLINGEN) – Police Chief Aurelio Torres’ career at Texas State Technical College spans over 30 years and was recently recognized at the college’s annual Employee Appreciation Day for his service.
Torres, whose law enforcement career started at TSTC, said this was always a field he wanted to pursue because of its nobility.
“Our highest call is to provide service to others,” he said. “I feel that with my career I’m doing something with a purpose.”
Torres earned his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice – Police Administration from the University of Texas at Brownsville and graduated from the Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas Leadership Command College and moved up the ranks.
He arrived at TSTC in 1987 as a police officer and served in that position until 1995 when he became an investigator and field training officer. And finally in 2008 he was named the TSTC Chief of Police.
“The title of a job doesn’t matter, it makes no difference,” said Torres. “It’s about helping people and making a difference.”
Helping and changing lives is what Torres says is his favorite part of the job, even if the task is as small as unlocking a car.
“When I was an officer I loved being out in the field and helping our students overcome challenges,” he said. “It was great getting to know them and becoming a mentor.”
Although he does not work with students as often as he would like anymore, he said it has been great taking his officers and sergeants under his wing and helping them become the best officers and employees they can be.
“I love coaching and mentoring my personnel,” said Torres. “It’s important to me that they understand their jobs and what they do and how it ties into the college’s mission. In turn, it helps us provide the best service possible.”
Torres ensures that his team is always well trained and prepared by encouraging developmental training, the way TSTC has always encouraged his professional growth.
Torres and his officers have all completed trainings such as Campus Orientated Police Training, Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response, Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events and sexual assault family violence investigator courses. Most recently the chief and his sergeants completed the FBI’s Command Leadership Institute trilogy.
“Learning never stops and I’m thankful for the training that TSTC provides,” said Torres.
TSTC’s Vice Chancellor and Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel Ray Rushing, who is also Torres’ supervisor, has worked with the chief for more than 18 years and said that he is the epitome of a law enforcement professional.
“His knowledge, skill and leadership is best reflected in the awesome department he has assembled and trained,” said Rushing. “TSTC is lucky to have a man of such integrity and commitment on staff. His love for and dedication to TSTC is showcased daily in his actions.”
It is this dedication that has earned Torres other recognitions as well. He has been recognized by the FBI for his assistance in a child pornography case, by the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office as Law Enforcement Officer of the Year and by TSTC in 2011 as a Chancellor’s Excellence Award recipient.
Torres added that he never expected to be at TSTC for 30 years, but he is grateful that the college has allowed him to stay that long.
“TSTC has become my second family,” he said. “I look forward to continuing my commitment to the college and its community. TSTC offers so many opportunities to its students and employees and transforms lives. I want to continue being a part of that for as long as I can.”