Deputy Chief Jeff Petty Answers a Few More Questions About Coach 5-0
Nov 18, 2016 10:01PM
● By Melanie Heisinger
We recently wrote about the amazing Coach 5-0 Program in our magazine, "Arlington Coach 5-0 Program Builds Bond Between Student Athletes and Police." This program encourages healthy relationships between officers and high school athletes, harboring positivity and perseverance.
Deputy Chief Jeff Petty took the time to answer a few more questions that we had about the Coach 5-0 Program.
Background and bio:
I have been with the department for 28 years. I have served in patrol, training, criminal investigations, special investigations and Internal Affairs. I have been married for 26 years and have three kids. All of my kids were/or are involved in sports and extracurricular activities.
What is your current role within the department?
Deputy Police Chief over North Patrol District.
How long in your current position(s)?
I have been a patrol deputy chief since July of 2011. I have been assigned to the North District since July of 2014.
What other jobs/experience have you had?
- Patrol Officer
- Field Training Officer
- Patrol Sergeant
- Patrol Lieutenant
- Special Investigations Lieutenant
- Criminal Investigations Lieutenant
- Internal Affairs Lieutenant
Tell us more about your background and training. What should we know?
I am from Paradise Tx, a small town about an hour North West of Arlington. I went to college at UNT where I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. I was hired by Arlington in March of 1988 and attended the police academy at Tarrant County College. After basic academy, I attended an advanced academy at Arlington PD prior to entering field training.
I have received numerous amounts of training during my tenure at Arlington. I am a graduate of the 252nd FBI National Academy, a prestigious senior leadership school. I have also attended the Police Executive Research Forum Senior Management Institute of Policing course in Boston.
Which schools and sports have been involved?
All of the AISD Schools and all Mansfield Schools in the Arlington city limits have been invited to participate in the program. Most schools have some form of participation. The program started as a football program but is now being expanded to other sports.
What’s a typical day or week like at Coach 5-0?
Attend a practice or game sometime during the week. Hang out and support the players.
How can someone find out more about the Coach 5-0 program?
Parents and students can learn more about the program by being connected with the department. All student athletes can participate regardless of sport.
What’s unique about the program? Is it modeled after something similar elsewhere?
I think it is unique because we have taken a typical mentor program and applied it to High School Sports. I am not aware if it is modeled after another program.
Has the program faced any challenges?
The program has been well received by the officers and the coaches. The coaches have been great about creating opportunities for the Coach 5-0 mentors to spend time with the athletes. The first year was a little clumsy because no one knew exactly what to expect and we were slowly adding mentors. This year the program seems to be running a lot smoother.
What resources are required for the program to operate?
The only resource we use at this time is human capital. Officers may volunteer their time and/or use a limited amount of on duty time depending on call load and work requirements.
How are you raising awareness of the Coach 5-0 program and those it serves?
Our media office has done a good job through traditional media and social media of bringing awareness about the program. We have also recently been selected to present the program at the annual International Association of Police Chief’s Conference.
Who benefits from the program?
If you would have asked me this question a year ago, I would have said it benefits the athletes. After being in the program for a year, I believe it goes way past that. The athletes are benefiting by getting to know the officers and understanding us better. I hope they feel the support and concern we have for them and know someone cares. The program will benefit the coaches and school administrators who can pass on some of their troubled students to us leaving them more time to do their jobs. The community benefits by having less students involved in illegal/inappropriate behavior and parents can benefit by using us as another resource for dealing with kids who are in crisis. The police department benefits by having a forum where we can explain who we are and why we do what we do.
Having said all that, I have to say I think the officers in the program get a great benefit from being involved. It gives us a chance to see behind the curtain and understand why some of these students are acting the way they are. Some of the young people have issues at home where basic needs are not being met, some feel socially isolated, some are behind in academics. If there is one thing I am learning, it is not to assume anything. You never really know what someone is going through that will make them act out.
Another great benefit for the officers is we get to see that the vast majority of our student athletes are great kids. They are driven, motivated and friendly. It gives us another perspective versus just dealing with kids in negative enforcement type encounters. Before, when we got a call to respond to one of our high schools, it was usually for a negative reason, someone was fighting, or someone had stolen something. Our focus was based on something punitive to address bad behavior of a very small segment of the student population. We were only being exposed to the bad side. Now, we get a chance to interact with the students on a social level. Once you get to know them and form a relationship, your perspective begins to change. You realize the few troubled kids causing problems are not representative of the whole school. Ironically, that is the same message we are trying to send to the kids. “Look, were cops, we know some cops do bad things, but that is not how we all are. Just give us a chance, get to know us and then form your opinion.”
Now, I hear officers talking about “my kids”. There is ownership and concern. Before, we were trying to catch them doing something bad, now we are trying to figure out how to keep them out of trouble. It is probably one of the best examples of police transitioning from the warrior mindset to the guardian mindset that I have seen.
Visit their website to learn more about the Coach 5-0 Program and the great things they are doing within the community.