Officer David Sorrell
I would like to start by saying; I didn't think I would be a police officer when I was growing up. I always wanted to be a pro football player. While I was growing up I had no reason to believe that my dream would not come true. Out of high school I received a football scholarship to Southwest Texas State University. While attending SWTSU, I changed my major from physical education to criminal justice. I decided to concentrate on corrections after most of my close teammates started criminal justice degrees. While taking classes I had a teaching assistant that was a police officer at UT. The teaching assistant got me and some other football players interested in the police force at UT. I never planned on becoming a police officer but being taught by the officer from UT changed my mind. I later accepted a job with the University of Texas Police and I am glad to say that I just celebrated my 27 year with the department. I guess what I am saying is, keep your options open when thinking about a law enforcement career because the benefits can be very rewarding.
Detective Michael Riojas
I always thought I would go to work for DPS as a State Trooper. So yes, I always knew I would be a police officer somewhere. I served as an electrician in the Navy. I have worked for UTPD since 1990, I started out as a Guard Officer writing parking tickets. 5 years later I went to and graduated the System Police Academy. I worked patrol for 6 ½ years. In 2001 I was assigned to the Criminal Investigations Unit as a Detective. The reason I choose law enforcement was because law enforcement has been a career that I saw as a way to helping others when they are in need and it was a way to give back to the area in which you live.
Sgt. Wayne Coffey
I came to UT Police after playing professional football in the National Football League (NFL) and Arena Football League (AFL). My father-in-law, Guard Ira Guyton recruited me to work at UT. I have been with UTPD for 16 years. My job at UT gives me the opportunity to take my daughter Kennedy to school every morning, head over to the golf course once a week to play golf with some retired police officers or take Tru, my Belgian Malnois for a run. I am married to Natalie Coffey and my son Spencer Coffey is a PhD student at UC Santa Cruz. My favorite part of the job is the work I get to do as a certified Drug Recognition Expert (DRE). This work includes a drug and alcohol workshop training for the cadets at the UT Police Academy. UTPD provides an excellent benefits package and numerous training opportunities. I have been certified for Bike Patrol, Special Response Team, Community Policing, and a First Responder.
Sgt. Ashley Griffin
Yes. When I was in 8th grade I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement, although the area of interest has changed. Originally I wanted to work in homicide, but after a few months of being an officer my communications skills really seemed to stand out and they helped me more than anything else. So, I shifted my interest to wanting to specialize in calls dealing with persons in crisis. I am a Mental Health Officer and teach a class to UTPD officers on how to effectively interact with persons that suffer from mental illness. I teach the RAD Basic course for women and I have attended the UT System Hostage Negotiation course.
I love being an officer because of all of the people you get to meet. I have the opportunity to speak to people from all walks of life and I feel that is such an invaluable experience.
Lt. Darrell Birdett
Becoming a police officer was not my childhood dream. I got into police work because I was on scholastic dismissal from college. I decided I needed to find a better job and career than I was currently in while attending college. I thought that being a police officer would be interesting, and if I found out it wasn’t the career for me, I could always go back to school and finish my degree. It didn’t take long to discover that I have found a job I truly enjoyed. I have worked virtually every assignment in the department over the years. After several years of being an officer, and promoting, I decided that I needed to finish my degree. I switched my major, and started taking classes as I could through the UT System online program. I will finally realize my goal of getting a degree in December 2014.