Ruben Puente, assistant director of the University of Texas System Police Department, has been appointed the interim chief of police for the University of Texas Medical Branch.
Thomas Engells, UTMB police chief since 2010, died last week. He was 59.
Noting that the UTMB community was still mourning Engells’ death, Dr. David L. Callender, UTMB president, said that Puente “brings a wealth of experience in municipal and university law enforcement, and in corporate security. He is highly regarded for his ability to identify and address operational vulnerabilities, reduce risk to organizations, mitigate the threat of workplace violence, prosecute internal fraud and implement strategic security technologies.”
Puente has served in the police department in Arlington, Texas, and held a command position with the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Police. As senior manager of corporate security with Frito Lay North America, he oversaw security operations for 52,000 employees in 18 regional offices, 10 manufacturing plants and 200 distribution centers throughout the U.S. He also oversaw corporate security operations for Major League Baseball, including planning sporting event security throughout North America and in numerous international venues. He joined the UT System Police Department in 2012.
A graduate of the FBI National Academy, Puente earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Arlington, a master’s degree from Southern Methodist University and a master’s degree in professional development from Dallas Baptist University. He completed advanced graduate studies in dispute resolution at SMU and is also a graduate of several law enforcement executive programs. Puente serves on the advisory board for the Institute for Law Enforcement Administration in Plano, Texas, and is an experienced Certified Fraud Examiner.