Reyes chosen as UTPB Officer of the Year

UTPB Police Officer Georgia Reyes was named Officer of the Year for UTPB and recently officer of the month for the UT System which has 15 different police departments. She enjoys working with her fellow officers and at the university. (Courtesy Photo)

University of Texas Permian Basin Police Officer Georgia Reyes is still relatively new to law enforcement, but she’s making her mark.

Having started with the university police in September 2022, Reyes was named Officer of the Year for UTPB and officer of the month for the UT System which has 15 different police departments.

Being recognized for doing her job was really encouraging.

A day for a UTPB police officer varies. Reyes said campus is usually pretty peaceful. They will provide escorts and help other law enforcement agencies.

“We monitor every channel around us,” Reyes said. “We’ll do DPS, SO (sheriff’s office), OPD and we’ll know what’s going on.”

If something happens close to campus, Reyes will take it. For example, if there is a car accident close to campus, she’ll handle it.

“We can go from one thing to another,” she added.

Reyes said the environment at UTPB is healthy. The top brass knows them and knows what they need and recognizes you if you do good work.

Sgt. Viviana Vasquez said Reyes is a credit to the force.

“She’s a very hard worker and is always friendly and professional when serving the community,” Vasquez said.

She added that she has always wanted to be a police officer, but at first her mom wasn’t so sure. Expectations were that she and her sisters would marry and their husbands would take care of them.

“Now I’m like my mom’s pride and joy,” she added.

“My sisters, my nieces, all of them are pretty proud about it,” Reyes said.

At the same time, being a police officer wasn’t what she thought it would be either. Reyes started with the Odessa Police Department and stayed three or four years.

“I thought it was like cupcakes and rainbows kind of thing, like we’re saving the day,” she said.

But a lot of it was negative.

“You’re with people on their worst days, so it was nothing but negative stuff. At first it was like a culture shock. I had never even seen a drunk person in my life. I was super isolated. … It was so extreme. But I ended up like okay, we have a purpose why we’re here,” Reyes said.

When she left OPD, she took a year off. She is going to school for criminal justice at Odessa College and plans to transfer to UTPB.

Reyes works on an all-female shift. Right now there are three on the shift, which includes her sergeant and a dispatcher.

“We swap. Every two months we move to nights and then days,” she added.

Reyes said they wanted to put a woman on each shift, but they decided not to touch her shift because they work really well together.

“We have four people in training. There’s two people in the academy right now and then there’s two people in training. So we should be at four people,” Reyes said.

She’s not sure what the secret is, but they do stay on top of things.

Reyes is from Phoenix, Ariz., but her family moved to Odessa.

“I love Texas,” she said.

She has eight siblings all together and four nieces and one nephew.

“All the girls want to be cops,” Reyes said.