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George Powers
George Powers

Former Police Chief George Powers dies June 11

By Douglas Sonego
Captain, UTSA Police Department

(June 12, 2008)--Former UTSA Police Chief George Powers lost his battle with cancer Wednesday morning, June 11. He was 61 years old.

Powers served as the UTSA Police Department's assistant chief under Chief Ronald Seacrist from April 1998 until Seacrist's departure. In June 1999, Powers became the third UTSA chief of police and served for six years until May 2005.

Powers served in the Houston Police Department for 22 years, retiring as a sergeant. Years after leaving the Houston Police Department, he moved to San Antonio where he was loss prevention manager at Ultramar Diamond Shamrock Corp. (now Valero) for eight years before coming to UTSA.

Under Powers, there was significant growth in the UTSA Police Department with a nearly 40-percent increase in the number of officers. He helped establish the Office of Emergency Preparedness, now the Office of Business Continuity and Emergency Management. He also founded the UTSA honor guard and established the criminal background check process for new hires.

Powers was responsible for developing the department's first Web site and creating the Special Threat Operations Plan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. What cannot be measured is the increase in morale and professionalism within the UTSA Police Department because of the high standards Powers set and because employees respected and cared greatly for him. Powers cared deeply about UTSA employees and often took extra time to listen to their concerns.

It became a tradition for Santa Powers to make an appearance at the Vice President for Business Affairs Holiday Party. Santa Powers would entertain those waiting in line for food by giving out candy canes and bellowing out, "Ho, ho, ho!" More importantly, Santa Powers would visit local children's hospitals to hand out presents to those too sick or injured to spend the holidays at home and children whose parents couldn't afford gifts.

Powers will be missed by everyone who knew and were touched by him, and most of all by the men and women of the UTSA Police Department who were proud to call him chief.

Powers is survived by his wife Jackie, sons Jeffrey and Brian, stepson Bobby and stepdaughter Cheryl.

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A memorial service is 3 p.m., Saturday, June 14 at Porter Loring Mortuary North, 2102 North Loop 1604 East at Gold Canyon. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the American Cancer Society or the San Antonio Police Department's Blue Santa program. For more information, call (210) 495-8221.

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