After an almost 17-year hiatus, a familiar face is returning to the Dumas Independent School District Police Department.
On Monday, DISD Police Chief Larry Payne was joined by Dumas ISD administration, representatives of the Dumas Police Department and Moore County Judge Rowdy Rhoades for a special swearing-in ceremony of Officer Brian Hatch.
Judge Rhoades conducted the ceremony and, afterwards, those in attendance who knew Officer Hatch from his previous time in Dumas shared memories and welcomed him back. Others, who he met for the first time, wished him well in his new position.
Hatch, a 30-year law enforcement veteran, got his start in the Panhandle Regional Law Enforcement Academy in Amarillo. His first job was with the Hartley County Sheriff’s Department.
He later applied for the Dumas Police Department and was placed No. 2 on the list of 15 applicants. Dumas PD hired the No. 1 candidate, and Hatch said he then decided to enroll in 18 hours at Amarillo College. Less than a month later, he received a call offering him a job at Dumas Police Department. As it was too late to drop his classes at AC, Hatch says he accepted the job and spent a semester taking 18 hours of college courses at the same time.
Officer Hatch remained with the Dumas Police Department until 1999 when the Dumas ISD Police Department was formed. He had worked with Payne at Dumas PD, and joined Payne at the Dumas ISD Police Department. He was the officer in charge of riding the bus back and forth from Fritch each day as students were transported to and from CHAMPS Academy. Officer Hatch served in that capacity until late 2002, which is when he went to Angelo State University in San Angelo. That is where he spent the last 17 years.
Hatch said Chief Payne contacted him each time the department had an opening, and everything just worked out right this time to allow for his return to Dumas.
“I decided it was time to return (to Dumas) to assist Chief Payne with the Dumas ISD Police Department,” Hatch said. He added Dumas is a good town with good people, and both of his kids graduated from here. One son, Freddie, is a DPS trooper and the other, Lorenzo, is a Roman Catholic priest.
Hatch brings a wealth of experience to the job including a two-year degree in criminal justice from AC, as well as a Master Police Officer certification. He’s also a firearms instructor and hostage negotiator.
Officer Hatch’s office will be at Dumas Junior High, and he will work that campus, as well as intermediate and the elementaries, according to Payne.
Chief Payne said Hatch is “an exceptional officer.” He added that when he rode the CHAMPS bus, the kids knew he was serious about his job, but they also knew if they needed the least bit of help, they could go to him.
Payne said he continually pursued Officer Hatch when he had openings because of Hatch’s experience and professionalism.
“He brought so much to our department,” Payne said. “I’m glad the situation was right to get him back.”