ACUPD Chief Jimmy Ellison has accepted the position of Chief of Police for Mont Belvieu Police Department, ending his long tenure at ACU.
In addition to 20 years of service, Chief Ellison is proud of the relationships he has built within the ACU and Abilene communities.
“Abilene really grew on us over the last 20 years. When we moved from Beaumont to Abilene for several years I really did wonder what I’d done. This didn’t feel like home,” Ellison said. “Strangely, like some sort of osmosis, Abilene became home. Abilene is a fantastic place to live and a fantastic place to work that it feels like we are leaving home all over again.”
When Ellison started working with ACUPD 20 years ago, the police station shared a building with the janitorial staff, had one patrol car and few employees, according to his son, Chris Ellison. The two lived in University Park apartments while the rest of the family finished their school year off in Beaumont and Ellison worked to build the station into a full-service police department.
“It all started with being a security force, essentially, that he pushed to what it is now,” his son, Chris Ellison, said. “They do all these things to be a beacon of what campus policing can be.”
Chief Ellison is most proud of the relationship he’s built between ACUPD, ACU administration and the Abilene community.
“I’m proud of the level of trust that senior administration, particularly President Schubert, has provided to me personally, professionally and to us as a department,” Ellison said. “The level of trust and autonomy that our senior leadership team here at ACU gives the ACUPD is exceptional.”
In the beginning of his time as chief at ACUPD, Ellison helped create the Adjunct Peace Officers Agreement. In 2006, the Chief of APD, Chief Melvin Martin and Ellison envisioned a “much broader and more dedicated relationship between the two agencies.”
“[the agreement] is unique across the state of Texas, and it was a result of the trust that APD had in us and how we are shaping and running the police department,” said Ellison.
Before the agreement, ACUPD services were limited to the geographic campus area. The agreement enabled ACUPD to provide full police services to all ACU faculty, staff and students as well as those who live around campus.
“The reason that’s important is because as Abilene has grown, we’ve got a lot more commercial districts around campus, a lot more restaurant districts around campus where our students, faculty and staff are shopping and dining and so forth,” said Ellison. “We wanted our students to feel safe and served no matter where they lived, learned or worked.”
Ellison accepted the position of Chief of Police for Mont Belvieu Police Department, located in southeast Texas near Houston. Mont Belvieu has a small but growing population and has a large industry for liquified petroleum.
“It’s a city that is growing rapidly. They are challenged with significant industrial and residential growth,” Chief Ellison said. “The police department is challenged with the need to grow and match the changing dynamic of a growing city, so I’m excited about the challenge of expanding the police department to meet the demands while also maintaining a small town approach there.”
When deciding whether to accept the position, Ellison and his wife considered the proximity to their children and grandchildren, as well as a big hobby for Ellison: saltwater fishing.
“It boils down to new challenges and knowing that if we accepted this position and made the move to Mont Belvieu we’d be 45 minutes from all three of our children and all five of our grandchildren, not to mention 30 minutes from saltwater fishing,” Ellison said. “So between grandkids, extended family and saltwater fishing and new challenges, we just finally decided it was an opportunity that we wanted to pursue.”
Through his years of service and relationships built in and out of the station, Ellison continues to remain humble.
“President Schubert and senior vice president of operations Kevin Campbell have both asked me to be involved in the search process for the next police chief,” said Ellison. “I’m honored by that and grateful for that. The fact that I’m leaving after 20 years and they still think enough of me that they want me to help meant the world to me.”