Every day, Chris Beckrich gets ready to come to his new career at Texas Wesleyan with a smile on his face.
Beckrich is Wesleyan’s new director of safety and security, and he said he is already enjoying his transition from a career as a Fort Worth police officer, which he did for 30 years, to his new job.
“My experience is in law enforcement, so this fit in well,” Beckrich said.
Beckrich replaces Blake Bumbard, who left Wesleyan in November to take a position at the University of Texas at Tyler.
Beckrich knows Wesleyan and the surrounding area well, for several reasons. His wife of 29 years, Cindy, graduated from Wesleyan with a bachelor’s degree in finance in 1998.
Also, he has spent most of his career in the neighborhood, first as a patrol officer and then, for 25 of his 30 years on the force, as a supervisor of security at the Presbyterian Night Shelter, which is only a few miles west of campus.
“I coordinated with the off-duty police and made sure that things got taken care of there at the shelter,” he said. “The department had a presence and if there were any policies that needed to be adjusted they were taken care of.”
And finally, Jordan, the oldest of his four children, recently graduated from the Fort Worth Police Academy and is patrolling in the neighborhood, Beckrich said.
Beckrich is a student himself; he will graduate this summer will graduate from Tarleton State University with a degree in criminal justice.
His experience with East Fort Worth, and his connections to the school, were major reasons he was selected for the job, according to Vice President of Enrollment & Student Services Pati Alexander.
“Chris’s work on local events, such as the Cowtown Marathon, managing security for the Presbyterian Night Shelter, working with the mayor on her community bike rides, his previous experience in east Fort Worth, and his investigative and management experience made him the perfect candidate for this position,” Alexander wrote in an email. “He has already made a positive impact on the campus.”
Beckrich said that his time working at the shelter taught him a lot about interacting with the public.
“Something I’ve noticed a lot in the police force is I believe in treating people with respect,” he said, “and that’s something I have already imparted on the security team; to make sure whatever they’re doing they’re going to treat it with respect.
“Whether they’re good guys or bad guys it doesn’t make a difference. They’re still going to be treated right. So I think that’s pretty much something I go by a lot.”
Beckrich also said that he is currently educating himself about how to be an effective campus security manager.
“Coming from a police department, and into this position, I have several contacts like with the TCU police chief and others,” he said, “and have been making contact to see what policies and things have implemented to improve campuses and see if we can do them here or if it’s possible to implement them here.”
He’s also studying the campus and reading up on Wesleyan’s 2020 Vision and how it relates to campus security.
“Right now I’m just observing what Wesleyan has in place and to look for places to improve,” he said. “I plan on, at some point, doing the right assessments on all the buildings on campus to make sure it’s safe and to recommend improvements to make it safer.”
Security is a major part of the 2020 Vision, said Ann Davis, director of communications.
The strategic plan calls for a safe and secure campus, Alexander wrote, and Beckrich’s experience will benefit Wesleyan in coming years.
“We need to grow with (the 2020 Vision),” Beckrich said.
In the coming months, Alexander wrote, Beckrich will be training faculty, staff and students on emergency preparedness.
At present he’s also reaching out to students to get their perspectives on campus security.
“I have an open door and I’m more than willing to come if they have an issue to come talk to me,” Beckrich said. “I’d be happy to see what we can do to address it. I think it’s important to get the perspective of security from the students who live on campus.
“Students are like clients, so security needs to make sure they’re taken care of properly. I have no problem setting up forums or having websites or setting up chats or whatever with students if they want to come in and talk. Ultimately my plans are to continue to make Wesleyan one of the safest universities in America.”