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Capital Metro announces leader of transit police force

Tuesday, June 28, 2022 by Samuel Stark

The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors has approved Eric Robins, the former chief of police of Sugar Land, Texas, to become the new chief administrator of the Capital Metro transit police.

Robins will serve as chief administrator starting Aug. 1, until the nascent transit police department is certified by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. At that point, Robins will become the first chief of police of the department, Gardner Tabon, Capital Metro chief safety officer, said at the board meeting Monday.

Born in Houston, Texas, Robins has worked in law enforcement for over 30 years. He served as chief of police in Sugar Land, a city with just over 100,000 people outside of Houston, since 2018. He retired from the position earlier this month.

Robins has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Houston-Downtown and a masters in criminal justice from Sam Houston State University. He is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and the Texas Police Chiefs Association. 

“He’s far exceeded our expectations with regard to qualifications (and) background checks, that were numerous …. We are so pleased to have Mr. Robins on board,” Tabon said.

Capital Metro board members expressed their excitement that Robins is taking on this new role.

Chair Jeffrey Travillion noted Robins’ excellent reputation. “He’s been in law enforcement for a long time, and he has a passion for working with and building trust with community members,” he said in a statement.

“I had the opportunity to engage with him and ask him some pointed and detailed questions,” Board Member Eric Stratton said. “I’m really looking forward to him coming to the team with his vision for what (the police department) is, and for what the community has wanted.”

The board approved the establishment of the transit police department in August 2021. The decision to set up the department was met with opposition from some community members concerned about excessive policing.

Darrell Sorrells, a bus driver who is the vice president of the local transit union, said during the public comment section before the board meeting, “Coming from an operator’s standpoint with a 20-year career, I’ve been a victim who has been assaulted on the bus … I think it’s a great time to have a police force.”

Now that Capital Metro has its police chief, the next steps are drafting policies and beginning the search for senior-level officers. The hiring of lower-level police officers will begin in 2023.

Photo by WhisperToMe, own work, Public Domain.

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