'I use what I learned in every course at UHCL,' says new Texas City Police Chief
After nearly 30 years in law enforcement, Landis J. Craven’s superiors at the Texas City Police Department told him that when he became captain, there would not be a possibility to advance any further without a college degree.
“That’s when I decided to get into college,” said Craven. “I completed my associate’s in criminal justice at Alvin Community College, then transferred to University of Houston-Clear Lake and started my Bachelor of Science in Public Service Leadership, which I completed in 2022. I chose that instead of criminology because I wanted to expand myself. It was the best decision I could have made.”
He said it had been an adjustment to return to formal, structured school after so many years, but he had no problem finding peers who were also non-traditional students already in the workforce. “I felt embraced,” he said. “I think the other students liked that I was older and more experienced. I was most worried about my math class. I took Criminal Statistics. It was challenging, but I made it through.”
He said all his classes had been impactful, especially his sociology courses focusing on topics related to diversity. “They were very insightful,” he said. “But every class I took emphasized leadership development, conflict resolution, and effective communication. All of it helps me as a law enforcement officer.”
In fact, Craven noted, there was not a single course he had taken that he wasn’t currently applying daily in his professional life. With his UH-Clear Lake degree in hand, he knew he was ready for the job when he was promoted to Texas City’s Chief of Police and sworn in on Sept. 1.
“UHCL prepared me for the very role I have now,” he said. “Without the curriculum, and the skill set that I received, my training in ethical decision making and community engagement, I could not do my job. Every day, I use what I learned from every single course I took. They all benefited me.”
Knowing that two Houston Chiefs of Police—Charles McClelland, Jr. and the current chief, Troy Finner, were both UHCL alumni confirmed Craven had chosen the right university. “UHCL graduates police chiefs,” he said. “I knew I was right on track.”
Although it wasn’t easy to work full time and go to school, Craven said he’d found professors who were invested in his success. “I had a number of classes with (Clinical Associate Professor in Public Leadership) Comeka Anderson Diaz,” he said. “She understood that she was working with students who had things going on in their jobs. That’s why she’s one professor who really stood out for me during my time at UHCL.”
Craven said that any hesitation he had about going to college disappeared after his UHCL experience. “I am inspired to continue my education now,” he said. “I can’t stop! I am working on my master’s degree and now, we have three captains in our department and they're all in college, too.”
He added that he hoped he’d had a role in inspiring them to advance their education. “Especially now, when they come in my office, they see that over there,” he said, pointing to his framed UHCL diploma on the wall.
For more information about UHCL’s Bachelor of Science in Public Service Leadership, visit www.uhcl.edu/academics/degrees/public-service-leadership-bs.