Seguin Police Department Assistant Chief Jaime “Rusty” Suarez didn’t know his interest in fitness would lead him to a career in law enforcement. The 2003 alumnus graduated from TLU with a degree in Kinesiology and soon went on to pursue a master’s in education with an exercise science focus at Texas State University. He also happened to begin an internship with Seguin PD at that time.
On the very first day, he knew his career path was going to change.
“I was in the office and the chief at the time came rushing in and said we had a hot call,” Suarez, 38, said. “I had no idea what he was talking about, but I went with him—the lights and sirens going—to a burglary in progress. I saw in that moment how the officers were trying to help people and I caught the bug that day. I decided to finish up my master’s and went to the academy right after graduation.”
After joining the force in 2007, he was promoted to Assistant Chief earlier in June 2019. His desire to always help people most likely comes from his father who’s a reserve deputy constable for Guadalupe County, as well as a retired teacher and coach.
“I enjoy serving the community and trying to make it a better place,” Suarez said. “I find it very rewarding. Every morning I come in and ask myself, “What am I going to be able to do today to help others?’ I did definitely question myself as if to whether or not I was prepared to take on the challenge since I’m fairly young and I’ve only been in law enforcement for 13 years. I had to really think about if I was capable to sit at one of the head positions in the department since I didn’t necessarily have the administrative or budgeting experience of others. I did know that I like challenging myself and I’m always wanting to develop myself professionally as much as I can. I was relieved when I found out I was selected, but I know it’s always a work in progress.”
Even though his current position isn’t necessarily what one might think when it comes to kinesiology or exercise science, Suarez says that his education has helped him immensely.
“Although my background isn’t in criminal justice, the physical demands we face in law enforcement have more and more departments developing a fitness curriculum,” he said. “We’ve adopted ours from the Texas Department of Public Safety and I’ve worked with others in our department here to develop our own fitness tests.”
Currently, officers are given three different options to assess their wellness: a 2,000-meter row, a four-minute row for distance, or a timed 500-meter row. Participants are required to be in at least the 60thpercentile for their age, weight, and gender.
Those who have a difficult time passing often receive extra coaching from Suarez to them help them succeed now and in the future.
“I try to inform them that it’s not just for this fitness test or for while they’re on duty,” he said. “It’s a lifestyle so that their health is in a better place overall. I want them to be able to enjoy retirement and be physically able to pursue other things if they want.”
Suarez says it’s also important to understand that we’re always evolving personally and professionally, and to be ready for whatever comes our way.
“I love coming in each day not knowing what to expect,” he said. “I really like that about the job because it keeps you on your toes and it’s not so mundane. I would also tell current TLU student not to limit yourself to just one aspect of where you think your education will take you. Think outside the box. Just because you study in certain areas doesn’t mean you can’t expand into another and be successful.”