The Texas System Police Association awarded a UTA Police lieutenant the first-ever John Mulloy Leadership Award on Friday.
The award was presented to Lt. Yvonne RoQue, who said she was surprised that her peers nominated her for the award and is deeply honored to be the recipient.
RoQue exemplifies what leadership needs to be, and it’s important to honor what campus police do for the community, said Troy Mondine, Texas System Police Association president. This award for RoQue is long overdue, he said.
The TSPA is an association that represents the interests of TSPA members who are employees of colleges, universities and independent school district police departments in the state of Texas, according to its website.
The association gifted RoQue a framed certificate for the award, a wooden plaque in the shape of Texas engraved with her name and the name of the award, and a TSPA coffee mug with her name and the American flag.
“In my eyes, she’s what a leader is supposed to be,” UTA Police Officer Brian Watkins said. “She deserves this [award] and much, much more.”
Watkins said that a year ago he worked directly under RoQue when she was the lieutenant on patrol. Watkins contributed to RoQue’s nomination for this award by providing examples of her leadership qualities, along with some of his peers, he said.
RoQue is now the lieutenant over the Training and Hiring Division of the UTA Police Department. Her job consists of many hours spent developing officers, she said. She has been with the department for about 16 years and has worked on patrol and for the Criminal Investigations unit in the past.
Previously, she worked for the Dallas Police Department for about 10 and a half years. RoQue has her associate degree in criminal justice and has wanted to be a law enforcement officer since the age of 14, she said.
Cpl. Robert Yarbrough, UTA Police Department training coordinator, said RoQue is an innovative leader that genuinely cares about the people she trains. Officers respond to her so well because of her genuine qualities and willingness to get her hands dirty, he said. RoQue leads by example, and that’s the type of leader people want to work for, Yarbrough said.
Out of his 25 years of service, Yarbrough said the last couple have been the best of his career because of great leaders like RoQue throughout the department.
Watkins said that leading by example is one of RoQue’s strongest qualities; she wouldn’t ask anything of the officers that she wouldn’t do. Watkins said there’s been a few times that RoQue has been the first through the door in dangerous situations — the care she has for her officers’ well-being is natural and comes effortlessly, Watkins said.
One of RoQue’s biggest motivating factors is the enjoyment she finds in her job, she said. She finds great honor in both the ability to help mold new officers and the role she takes in teaching them the right way, she said.
Her role in molding these officers is the first step, but the whole department plays a supportive role in reinforcing the value of protecting and serving the community, she said.
“We all took the oath — To protect and serve,” RoQue said. “That’s what public service is about”.
She said a key lesson she tries to instill in officers is understanding the importance of serving the community as well as protecting it. Officers often prioritize protecting their community, but they need to remain concerned about their roles as public servants as well, RoQue said.
“Public service is one that’s given in faith, it’s one given in trust,” RoQue said. “And you have to respect that.”
Every day RoQue carries a coin in her pocket to remind herself of this quote. It was given to her when she became a police officer in Dallas.
The coin reads, “I hold myself to be true to duty, honor, & integrity. I strive always to have the courage to face down evil and forever to be known as a peacemaker.”
RoQue said it can be the small things that mean serving the community well, like being respectful to someone who needs directions. We have to understand our role in the community and learn to balance the values of fighting evil and being peacemakers.
She said one of her favorite parts about working for the UTA Police Department is that Police Chief Kim Lemaux creates a lot of opportunity for community service. How people perceive the officers can be improved and maintained by officers engaging with the community often and respectfully. Reinforcing officers’ approachability means so much to the department because it allows for more genuine cooperation and interaction with the community, she said.
RoQue said she is honored by the award, but the reason she won it is because of all the great work the officers are doing.
“This award is on behalf of all of them,” RoQue said. “It was their dedication, their work ethic that got me to where I’m at.“