Brent Tourangeau sworn in as chief of police

UT System Director of Police Michael Heidingsfield conducts Tourangeau’s coronation. Photo By Devinee Amin | Mercury Staff




In late February, campus welcomed former assistant police chief Brent Tourangeau as the newest UTD chief of police.

Tourangeau’s official coronation was held in the McDermott Room on March 30, where UT System Director of Police Michael Heidingsfield came from Austin to officiate the ceremony.

“In Brent Tourangeau, you have somebody with already a successful and storied career at the Richardson Police Department,” Heidingsfield said. “I can’t imagine a better day, quite frankly. This is a day to lift up the police, to lift up police chief Tourangeau and his family and welcome him as one of our new leaders.”

Tourangeau swore to protect and serve UTD, its students and its faculty. He hopes to enhance the police department’s partnerships with residential life, student affairs and other student groups. Most of all, he wants to ensure UTD is one of the safest campuses in Texas, especially in light of the Nashville Covenant Elementary School shooting.

Tourangeau has led UTD as one of the first universities in the UT system to train its entire officer team of 25 in immersive active shooter training.

“I know our community worries about that, and we want to make sure that our community knows that we will respond in an appropriate manner,” Tourangeau said. “I want to keep up our successful partnerships and build on with residential life, student affairs, their student government, student organizations and athletics.”

Rafael Martín, the vice president and chief of staff of UTD, who was a part of Tourangeau’s hiring process and promotion, believes that Tourangeau was the only right pick to ensure UTD’s safety.

“Brent is really somebody that I trust,” Martín said. “He has already developed so many relationships with key stakeholders across campus, and the feedback that I got from all of those groups was just so positive. People were very enthusiastic about his candidacy, about seeing him as the new chief of police here at UT Dallas.”

Tourangeau has served UTD since February 2014 but has a long history in law enforcement. Born in Bennington, Vermont, Tourangeau graduated from Castleton State College before arriving in Richardson, Texas. Between 1986 and 2007, Tourangeau worked various positions in the Richardson Police Department, or RPD, under former UTD Chief of Police Larry Zacharias. Starting off in the patrol unit, Tourangeau moved up the ranks into special investigations, a crimes against persons unit, the Drug Enforcement Administration task force, FBI Foreign and Domestic Counterterrorism task force and the motorcycle unit and crash investigations team. In his time at RPD, Tourangeau served as a firearms defensive tactics instructor, an A Team member of the SWAT unit for 26 years, the Tactical Operations Commander of RPD SWAT and then finally as the captain of the patrol unit. Tourangeau retired from RPD with the Life Saving Award and a Meritorious Conduct award for his response during a bank robbery.

After his honorary leave, Zacharias invited Tourangeau to UTD and has since become an integral part in making UTD one of the safest campuses in Texas. Tourangeau has also played a role in repairing the previously fragile relationship between students and law enforcement. 

“Chief Tourangeau has a great deal of respect for our students,” Zacharias said. “Brent and I have worked with each other for more than 20 years. He is a servant leader with high ethical standards. We share very similar policing and management styles and philosophies. He will have very little problem maintaining what the police department has established over the past several years.” 

Tourangeau is frequently seen at events or traveling across campus in a golf cart to check in on students. While students can reach Tourangeau through text or email, he is more than happy to hear from anyone willing to visit the UTD police station.

“We will also continue to promote a professional policing culture and inclusive environment. I will always communicate honestly and transparently, and we will maintain our focus on ethics here at our organization,” Tourangeau said.




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