Weatherford News

AISD chief shares thoughts on new gig

Fred Collie was born to serve and protect if ever anyone was.

Oh sure, like many folks, the new Aledo ISD Chief of Police dabbled at other things before realizing what profession he was put on this earth for. He was in the Army, he competed in rodeo. Even now, he wears a few different hats - teaching and even working on his doctor's degree, but one look at his resume, and it's obvious what he was destined for.

Collie came to the AISD in February after having most recently been the chief deputy in the Dallas County Constable's Office, Precinct 5.

Collie's resume also includes:

▪ Security consultant with Defenbaugh and Associates, a Dallas-based consulting firm specializing in homeland security issues, serving mostly public sector organizations.

▪ More than 20 years in public services, including 15 in the Arlington Police Department, from which he retired as deputy chief in 2004.

▪ While at Arlington PD, he served as patrol officer, patrol sergeant, bureau operations segreant, watch commander, sector commander, internal affairs commander, and commander of the Operations Support Bureau, which included oversight of the traffic, special operations and jail sections.

In 2007-08 Collie served for nine months in Iraq. He was the inspector general for the civilian police assistance training team.

Collie is also an adjunct professor with Corinthian College. He teaches classes in introduction to terrorism and critical incident response planning. He also teaches supervisory ethics and basic internal affairs for the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas, along with supervisory ethics for the Constables Leadership College.

Collie replaces Chawn Gilliland, who left in January to work in the Parker County District Attorney's Office.

And now that he's had a few weeks to get adjusted to his new gig, Collie sat down with the Weatherford Star-Telegram and shared a few thoughts about his passion for his career, his new home, family and more:

WST: What was it that attracted you and your family to Aledo?

FC: Aledo has a reputation for excellent schools, and Aledo and the surrounding communities have excellent reputations as places to live and raise a family. We have friends in Aledo, and they have always spoken very highly of their community as well as the schools.

WST: What about your family? Do you have children in the school district?

FC: My wife, Juliana, and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary this summer. Juli is an educator and teaches in the Fort Worth school district. We have two daughters, Emily who is 20, and Kayci, 14. Emily is a junior at Texas Tech and is following in her mother’s footsteps studying to be an elementary school teacher. Kayci is a freshman at Mansfield Summit High School and is very involved in the drill team.

WST: How is being a police officer in a school district different from a city or any other officer?

FC: Many of the same principles apply to municipal policing and policing in a school district. For example, in both settings, you will focus on prevention rather than simply responding to problems after they have occurred. Here in Aledo ISD, we are not driven by calls for service, and therefore have a greater opportunity to focus on education and prevention. We work in partnership with the administration at each of the schools, as well as the other departments within the school district to help ensure a learning environment that is free of crime and disorder as well as free of the fear of crime and disorder. In my short tenure thus far, I have been amazed by how well the administrators, especially the principles and assistant principals, know their students and how proactive they are whenever there is even the possibility of any sort of undesirable behavior.

WST: Is it unique for a school district to have its own police force? Can you name a few others?

FC: No, it is not really unique for a school district to have its own police department. School districts seek to provide safety and security in a manner that works best for them. Some school districts partner with municipal law enforcement organizations, which provide school resource officers to help meet their individual needs. However, some school districts like Aledo ISD use their own departments to meet their safety and security needs. Mansfield ISD has its own police department as do both Lancaster, Dallas and Austin ISDs.

WST: What is the most challenging part of your job?

FC: I have not met any significant challenges thus far. However, If I have to identify one challenge it would be trying to remember the names and positions or duties of all of the people I have met thus far.

WST: What is the most rewarding part?

FC: The most rewarding part of my job is working with a group of truly outstanding people. Every administrator and educator with whom I work is student-focused and does what is necessary to ensure that each student is well-served and protected. For example, when we had the snow event [recently] that prompted an early dismissal, the only priority was to ensure that every child arrived home safely in the most expedient manner possible. Everyone checked their egos and pitched in wherever they were needed. This has not always been the case in other environments in which I have worked, and it was truly refreshing to be a part of the Aledo family on that day.

WST: How much do you interact with the kids, staff?

FC: I, like all of the officers and Aledo ISD, interact with the students and staff daily. I usually start my day at one of the elementary schools and then attempt to drop by as many of the other schools as possible throughout the day. It is essential that I spend as much time as possible in the schools so that I can understand the unique challenges at each school and how we can best meet those challenges.

WST: What made you decide to work in a school district? Had you ever considered it before?

FC: When I interviewed with [Superintendent Dr. Derek Citty] and several of his staff members, I was immediately sold on Aledo ISD. I recall calling my wife while still in the parking lot and telling her "I sure hope I get this job, because I love it here."

WST: How do you work in unison with local police departments - Aledo, Willow Park?

FC: We work well with all of the law enforcement organizations that serve parts of the school district. The previous chief, as well as the officers, had established relationships that allow us to collaborate on issues of mutual concern. I am still in the process of meeting everyone and hope to have accomplished that goal soon.

WST: How much do you work with and rely on parents and staff, even students, in something like a citizens on patrol setting? Is there such a program in place?

FC: We work very well with the staffs at each school who know their respective students very well. In addition, the officers, due to the ongoing presence in the schools, have established relationships with students that allow the students to approach them with issues and concerns. In addition, there are resources in place to report bullying. A person wanting to report bullying can do so by accessing the form on Aledo ISD’s web page. We consistently strive to improve our communication and are open to suggestions and feedback to help us do so.

WST: When you're not working, what are your hobbies?

FC: I most enjoy spending time with my family. Both of my daughters have been heavily involved in dance since they were very young. Therefore, I have spent a lot of time at dance competitions. My primary job is to drive and carry stuff. I am also working on my PhD from the University of North Texas, so that so that takes a great deal of my time as well.

WST: If you could sit down with anyone in history and have a chat, who would it be?

FC: My default answer is Jesus Christ. However, knowing that I will ultimately have the opportunity to chat with Jesus, I would say that I would like to visit with King Leonidas of Sparta as he prepared to face the Persians at Thermopylae.

WST: Aledo is known for a lot of things, including being one of the best sports places in Texas, if not the nation. What are your thoughts on sports? Did you or do you play any?

FC: I am a huge football fan, especially the Dallas Cowboys. I look forward to Friday night lights here in Aledo. I played a little bit of football in high school. However, I was very involved in rodeo both in high school and college before I went into the Army.

WST: How many officers do you have on staff?

FC: We have a total of 20 officers on staff. However, we only have seven full-time officers including myself. We also have a secretary, Linda Hudson, that ensures the office runs smoothly. The remainder of the officers are part-time officers that work during football games and other important events.

WST: General thoughts on the future?

FC: I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here at Aledo I.S.D. thus far. I look forward to coming to work every day and am honored to work in such a professional and caring environment.