Alumni Link

JUNE 2016

Alumnus Steps into Role as Assistant Police Chief

A 20-year veteran of the Richardson Police Department, Kyle Coby Pewitt MBA’02, PhD’14 was recently promoted to assistant chief, ensuring his continued service to the city he has always called home.

“I'm doing the job I dreamed of in the city I grew up in and love,” he said.

Pewitt, who refers to himself as a third-generation “Richardsonian,” was asked as a fourth-grader to draw a picture of what he wanted to do when he grew up. He drew a police badge.

Kyle Coby Pewitt MBA’02, PhD’14 celebrates earning his doctoral degree with former colleagues UT Dallas Police Chief Larry Zacharias (left) and Assistant Chief Brent Tourangeau.

“I’m one of those kids that knew what I wanted to do,” he said. “And I actually did it.”

At 16, Pewitt joined the police department’s Law Enforcement Explorers, a program that provides youths with hands-on policing experience.

“It gives you such career insight into law enforcement,” he said. “You have an immersion into the field while still being a teenager.”

After working with the Explorers for five years and becoming a full-time officer with the police department within months of earning his undergraduate degree from the University of North Texas, Pewitt enrolled in the MBA program in the Naveen Jindal School of Management in 1998. During that time, after becoming a detective, he started working on cases involving forgeries, frauds and credit card abuses, giving him a new appreciation for the finance and statistics classes he was taking at UT Dallas.

A few years after earning his MBA, Pewitt became interested in the University’s new public affairs program and its focus on public administration. Although it took him longer to obtain his degree than he had planned because of his increasing police duties, Pewitt remains close to the cohort he started the program with in 2005.

“We became lifelong friends,” he said.

For many of them, Dr. Douglas Watson, former head of the public affairs program in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, played a large role in their success. Thus, Pewitt and others in his cohort are paying tribute to that impact through the creation of the Douglas Watson Public Affairs Scholarship, which will benefit students in the public affairs program.

“Dr. Watson was truly my mentor,” he said.

Pewitt also credits Dr. Richard Scotch, a professor of sociology, public policy and political economy, with helping him earn his degree. With Scotch’s help, he decided to focus on volunteers in police service with his dissertation.

Kyle Coby Pewitt MBA’02, PhD’14, assistant chief at the Richardson Police Department, earned Rookie of the Year honors in 1998 and was named Detective of the Year in 2002.

“Policing is founded on volunteerism,” he said. “One of my biggest hallmarks at the Richardson PD was helping spearhead leadership of the volunteer program.”

In 2008, Pewitt accepted an award for Outstanding Achievement in Law Enforcement Volunteer Programs from the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The award recognized the department’s efforts in driving volunteer participation through the crime prevention unit.

Pewitt’s generosity extends beyond his day-to-day duties, as he devotes time to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training, an endurance sports training program that raises funds for the organization. Since 2002, Pewitt has completed 32 marathons in locations ranging from Oklahoma City to Athens and raised nearly $90,000.

“It's a labor of love because it is about helping people,” he said.

In addition to his volunteer service and the added duties of his most recent promotion, Pewitt also is a professor at Tarleton State University, where he teaches courses in the public administration program.

“This is a great way to give back and expand my knowledge,” he said.

So, Dr. Pewitt or Chief Pewitt?

“Coby is just fine.”

Media Contact:
Jill Blevins, UT Dallas, (972) 883-5386, [email protected]

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