UHV adjunct professor promotes importance of police, community relations

In February 2021, Stuart Denton retired from the Sugar Land Police Department after more than 33 years of service. The former assistant chief and captain of the patrol and criminal investigations divisions and University of Houston-Victoria alumnus now teaches criminal justice courses at UHV Katy.

Stuart Denton

“I’ve only taught a few so far, both all online and hybrid,” Denton said. “But I prefer face-to-face classes, which allow for better interaction with the students.”

Denton earned a bachelor’s in criminal justice in 2015 from UHV because he wanted to advance in law enforcement administration.

“At the time, UHV was offering classes in Sugar Land,” said Denton, crediting the program’s convenience. “Also, the curriculum allowed me to receive credits for various law enforcement trainings I already had accomplished.”

The UHV alumnus sees the deterioration of police and community relations as a major challenge facing law enforcement today. As an adjunct faculty member teaching the next generation of professionals, he strives to meet this challenge head-on by advocating for community-oriented policing.

“In the first week at the police academy, you are taught two basic principles,” Denton said. “One is that law enforcement’s priority is crime prevention, not just putting people in jail. The other is the response to the question, ‘Who determines how a community is to be policed?’ The answer is: The community.”

Denton thinks that keeping a community safe requires a close partnership between law enforcement departments and the citizens they serve.

When he first chose to pursue a career in law enforcement, Denton was driven to secure a job that was challenging, exciting, full of interaction with other people and one that offered the opportunity to make a positive difference in his community. He thinks that law enforcement is still a necessary and noble profession today.

“The atmosphere of a desire for change that we are experiencing is not new,” Denton said, adding, “As long as there is open communication between law enforcement and the community, there is always hope for a peaceful society.”

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Victoria Hudgeons, Special to UHV