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Corporal William C. "Billy" Simpson, II
University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio - Laredo Regional Campus
December 1, 1972 - February 8, 2018
Chief Thomas Engells
University of Texas Medical Branch - Galveston
May 31, 1958 - January 22, 2018
January 22, 2018
It is with tremendous sadness that I inform you of the very sudden death of UTMB Police Chief Tom Engells at his home late yesterday.
Chief Engells has led our Police Department since 2010, and has been part of the UT System family for more than 34 years. Under his dynamic leadership, UTMB became the first UT System police department to achieve national accreditation for excellence from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). He was named the inaugural UT System Police Chief of the Year in 2011 and again in 2014, and also earned “Law Enforcement Administrator of the Year” by the Texas Association of College and University Police Administrators. More recently, Chief Engells achieved international recognition for his expertise in biosecurity.
He was also a proud veteran of the United States Marine Corps. His accomplishments and contributions to UTMB, UT System and the policing profession were many. Most of all, Tom was our brilliant and witty colleague whose humble, soft-spoken nature had a powerful impact on all who knew him. We will surely miss him.
Please keep Tom’s wife, Peggy, and his daughter, Laura, in your thoughts during this most difficult time. Thank you.
Dr. David L. Callender
Police Inspector II
June 1, 1950 - December 23, 2015
Larry A. Bloom was a 37 year law enforcement and public safety practitioner with 33 of those years dedicated to policing in Texas. A career employee of the Arlington Police Department, Inspector Bloom served in a variety of criminal investigative roles during the course of his career including narcotics, vice, organized crime, general assignments, Major Case Squad, career offenders and the full continuum of other major case categories. He was considered a subject matter expert in technical surveillance, covert operations and air operations in support of law enforcement. Inspector Bloom was a licensed private pilot with an instrument rating. He was experienced in bloodstain interpretation, electronic interception, clandestine methamphetamine laboratory investigations and interview and interrogation.
Inspector Bloom’s career at the Arlington Police Department was followed by an educational sabbatical in which he returned to college and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice and Criminology from the University of Texas at Arlington (summa cum laude) and a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration (cum laude) from Norwich University. Inspector Bloom returned to the practice of law enforcement in 2003 as a senior police officer with the Burleson (TX) Police Department, his home town, and then left in 2007 when selected through a national search to serve as the Manager of Public Safety and Code Enforcement for the Downtown Memphis Commission in Memphis, Tennessee. In this role Inspector Bloom was responsible for the development of public policy and enforcement practices for the downtown and entertainment districts of Memphis which were plagued by disorder, order maintenance issues and quality of life offenses. He drafted the first successful aggressive panhandling ordinance for the city, coordinated its enforcement with a mixture of public and private police, and instituted community policing and bicycle patrols which resulted in reductions in quality of life offenses in the Downtown Memphis core. Inspector Bloom oversaw and managed a staff of twenty in this effort.
Inspector Bloom joined the University of Texas System Office of the Director of Police in 2011 and continued to serve selflessly until his death on December 23, 2015.
Inspector Bloom is survived by his son, Kelly, who is a Deputy Sheriff for Tarrant County and his wife, Karen, an established Dallas-Ft. Worth radio and voice personality.
Sergeant Hector Barrera
July 22, 1980 - August 20, 2013
The University of Texas System Police has lost a valued officer, Sergeant Hector Barrera, who was killed in a tragic traffic accident on Tuesday, August 20, 2013. Sergeant Barrera was in full uniform and riding to work on his motorcycle, as he did day in and day out, when a vehicle turning in front of him caused an unavoidable collision.
Sergeant Hector Barrera joined the UT San Antonio Police Department in May 2000 as a parking controller and became a communications operator with the department in February 2002. He was selected for the UT System Police Academy in January 2003 and was commissioned as a police officer in June 2003.
He served the UTSA Police Department until August 2004, then joined the Zapata County Sheriff’s Office (August 2004 - July 2005) and the Starr County Sheriff’s Office (August 2005 - October 2006).
Sergeant Barrera returned to the UTSA Police Department in November 2006 and was welcomed back by his first police family. In October 2008, he was promoted to corporal. Last September, he was promoted to Sergeant.
He was also an original member of our UT System Police System Rapid Response team and the UTSA Honor Guard. He served both with honor and distinction as he did the UT San Antonio Police Department and the UT System Police.
Michael Heidingsfield, Director of Police spoke to Sergeant Barrera’s legacy: “Sergeant Barrera was a father, a son and a husband as well as a brother to those of us in Texas law enforcement. His commitment and dedication should serve as an inspiration and his good will and zest for life should remind us that all too often the best among us depart far too soon. The University of Texas System Police is better for the contributions that Sergeant Barrera selflessly shared with us and we are terribly diminished by his passing. His end of watch takes our breath away and we will grieve his absence. Let our hearts and hands embrace his wife, children, extended family, loved ones and fellow law enforcement professionals from this moment forward.”
“We are all deeply saddened by the loss of Sgt. Barrera. His 11-year career, including seven years with the UTSA Police Department, was marked by exemplary service, professionalism and dedication. He was a great friend to the UTSA community. Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones during this difficult time.” Ricardo Romo, UTSA President
In August 27, 2018 officers from the University of Texas System Police came together to ensure that Hector's son, Derek, had a very special first day in kindergarten. The link below will take you to a video of the occasion.