UTSA appoints first woman Chief of Police


Gauri Raje, News Editor

On Thursday, Jan. 27, UTSA named Stephanie Schoenborn the new UTSAPD Chief of Police. The appointment went into effect on Tuesday, Feb. 1.

Schoenborn, a UTSA alumna, began her law enforcement career in 1993.

“When I started at the police department in 1993, I actually was the lost and found person. So, I was the person [that] you would come to if you, you know, couldn’t find something on campus,” Schoenborn said. “As I worked at the police department in an administrative position, I saw what the police officers did. Back in those days, we would actually type the reports for the officers. And so, I read what they were doing and the activity that they were engaged in … and so I thought, ‘you know, that looks like a really interesting job.’ ”

Schoenborn then went on to attend the police academy in 1995, after which she worked her way through the ranks. 

“I really went through all the different positions in the police department … I worked as [an] investigator. I supervised patrol operations. Then I was a training sergeant for some time, which really gave me the opportunity to engage with law enforcement throughout our region and really throughout our state,” Schoenborn said.

In 2009, Schoenborn attended the FBI National Academy, which she described as “one of the highlights of [her] law enforcement career.” Schoenborn was a part of the executive board for the National Academy for nine years.

Schoenborn then worked temporarily for the UT Medical Branch in Galveston beginning in 2018 before returning to UTSA. She was named the interim Chief of Police at UTSA in April of 2021. 

Schoenborn explained that serving as interim Chief of Police at UTSA proved to be a valuable experience and helped her develop relationships. However, Schoenborn also pointed out that assuming the official title as Chief of Police entails a slightly different kind of job.

“ … knowing the community that is here was of course extremely beneficial, but a lot of that comes back to building relationships. My tenure here certainly did help with that but … now [there’s a] transition; now we’re doing something completely different. My role … [has] completely changed and I find myself engaged with a new energy and an excitement to engage with our students,” Schoenborn said.

Schoenborn further emphasized the connection that UTSAPD has not only with the UTSA community, but also San Antonio as a whole.

“Regardless of what we do, what we do at UTSA is part of … San Antonio as a whole and part of this region. So, it’s critical to have that positive relationship building,” Schoenborn said.

Schoenborn further explained some of the initiatives that UTSAPD is working on to further engage with the UTSA community.

“We do self-defense seminars. We’ve worked and participated in panels … We’re coming up with new programs and we’ve engaged with the UTSA community as well,” Schoenborn said.

These initiatives include the Police Department’s recent effort to improve response to mental health crises on campus. 

“One of the programs that we’ve recently done is to expand the training for our officers in dealing with students that may be in crisis. We’ve recently engaged with our UTSA faculty, so they’ve brought additional training to … our officers so that we have, you know, a different skill set when we go out and interact with our community,” Schoenborn said.

Schoenborn also encouraged those who are interested in the officer experience to go on a ride-along.

“We also encourage, you know, our community to do ride-alongs. You know, if anybody is interested in doing a ride along, I would encourage them to come to the police department and we’ll get them in a car with somebody so they can see what it is that our officers experience,” Schoenborn said.

Schoenborn also expressed her plans to further develop the Citizen Police Academy Program, which is a “scaled-down version” of police training condensed in a short period of time. The program includes various activities that help increase the engagement and understanding of the challenges law enforcement officers face.

In an effort to further engage with UTSA students, UTSAPD is also trying to increase its social media presence.

“One of the things that we’ve also done is, we’re working on trying to expand a little bit of what we do on social media. We have to recognize the community, you know, that we serve. And [social media is] how most of our students do communicate. So we actually have brought interns on board that are doing that specifically for us,” Schoenborn said.

Schoenborn also underscored the importance of campus safety: UTSAPD evaluates campus and its work on a daily basis.

“The safety and wellbeing of our campuses, of course, [is] our utmost priority. So, engaging the community in that it’s is a back and forth conversation. So, that goes back to building those relationships and having those conversations,” Schoenborn said. “We regularly assess what we have on our campus in regards to the safety…of the community itself. So, are we looking at building[s], are we looking at streets … it’s an every day while we’re out on patrol discussion … you need to be assessing what’s going on in your community on a regular basis.”

Schoenborn’s appointment — which went into effect on Tuesday, Feb. 1 — makes her the first woman to serve as Chief of Police at UTSA. Schoenborn reflected on the historical nature of the appointment.

“When I was appointed [to] this position, I received an incredible amount of support … and some of the messages that I received from the female officers were very heartfelt … it took [the appointment] to a new level for me … it really brought meaning to what it means to be the first woman as the police chief here,” Schoenborn said.

Schoenborn concluded by reiterating UTSAPD’s commitment to continue engaging with the Roadrunner community in the future.

“ … the police department, we are absolutely looking forward to developing our relationships throughout the community and engaging [the] Roadrunner community, and just continuing those strong relationships that we have,” Schoenborn said. “So, I think that’s very important to mention, is again, I have been blessed to be a part of the community for the past 29 years and I know, as a police department as a whole, we are looking forward to what UTSA has moving forward. We’re excited for the future and all of the initiatives that are in place. It’s a very exciting time to be in a position like this at UTSA.”