ACU recently named Jason Ellis the new ACUPD Police Chief after the previous Chief, Jimmy Ellison, retired last year.
Ellis graduated with a bachelor’s in criminal science and said he immediately knew he wanted to serve in the police force. Since then, Ellis has served as an officer, detective and watch commander in Frisco for 23 years with a few years spent in Houston. Ellis left ACU and Abilene in 1998 and said that coming back after all of those years was an extremely easy decision.
“I was raised in Dallas proper so at first when I came here, I hated Abilene, but by the time I left here I was like ‘this is it,'” Ellis said. “Everybody was asking ‘why would you leave Frisco to come to Abilene?’ and I don’t feel like unless you’ve been to Abilene or been to ACU you just wake up and say ‘I want to move to Abilene,’ but Abilene is awesome. It was a no-brainer.”
Ellis, a dedicated officer, is also a dedicated husband and father to his three children and is no stranger to the challenges being part of the police force brings. Frisco is a city with a lot of activity and Ellis said transitioning onto ACU’s police department will be a welcome shift in the day-to-day.
“Frisco has a ton of people, it’s double Abilene’s size … it’s busy all the time. With the kids it was hard working nights or shift work. I’d miss birthdays, Christmases, Thanksgivings and holidays, so it was hard,” Ellis said. “Everyone was worried when I left the city, asking ‘are you going to miss the activity?’ because I looked at the stats for ACU for three years and that’s a just bad week in Frisco. Why I decided to leave the city work is we actually get to make a difference in the students’ lives.”
Yet another reason Ellis is excited to take on this position is his daughter who will be an incoming freshman this year.
“In October, my daughter said ‘I’m going to ACU,’ and we were really happy. Obviously, I went here, my wife went here, my wife’s dad went here, siblings went here, her grandmother went here,” Ellis said. “And then it wasn’t timing at all or my plans but in January this job came open so I put in for it and now I’m sitting here.”
Ellis’ goals are relational; He hopes to connect with students and show that ACUPD is there to help the community at all times.
“I’m relational. I want to sit down with people, talk and get to know them,” Ellis said. “If you put anything in this paper please let them know that I am completely transparent, honest, and I have an open door.”
During his time at ACU, Ellis was also a member of the Men of Knights social club, where he met longtime friend and now co-worker Steve Eller.
Eller, who graduated in 1996 and later returned for a master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy, is a licensed professional counselor working at the counseling center on campus. Eller said after pledging, the two crossed paths again and have stayed connected.
“I met Jason Ellis at ACU in 1994 when he decided to pledge the Men of Knights social club, of which I was already a member,” Eller said. “After ACU, our families crossed paths again when we both attended First Colony Church of Christ in Sugar Land, Texas. We were in small-group together, meeting weekly at times, as our families began to experience the transition from young marrieds to parents of small children.”
Eller said this time of getting to know Ellis proves to him that he is qualified to be entering in as the new police chief.
“It’s this sort of quality character I believe Jason Ellis brings with him to the role as Chief of Police,” Eller said. “Jason carries a humble, gentle approach as he meets new people everywhere, learns their name, and desires to continue that relationship beyond a chance encounter.”
Jama Cadle, assistant director of alumni and university relations, also knew Ellis in her time at ACU.
“It’s really cool to be in this season of life and both be back on campus,” Cadle said. “I knew Jason in college not well, but he was a friendly, likable guy which makes sense he would go into public service. I just remember him being really kind and someone that others were drawn to.”
Cadle, like Eller, agrees that Ellis is fit for the role of police chief and will be a welcome addition to the ACU community.
“I think they’ll be a great asset for a myriad of reasons. He’s very approachable, very relatable, he has a different layer of being a parent, and he’s also an ACU alum,” Cadle said. “He gets our culture. With the kind of heart he has, I think he will be beneficial for the whole ACU community.”