Champion pivots to public service in UNLPD, earns accolades

· 3 min read

Champion pivots to public service in UNLPD, earns accolades

Sgt. Champion, UNLPD

Sgt. Agustin Champion earned his degree from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in fashion merchandising and fashion design in 2013; however, with a deep family background in law enforcement, he found himself pivoting toward public service, and is now a member of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Police Department.

“I love the campus and I’ll do what I can to help the campus community, help students learn and grow,” Champion said. “It feels cheesy to say it, but it’s in your blood and it just feels like I knew I wanted to do it — I needed to do this.”

The department — and campus — are thankful for the career change as Champion has made a positive impact through his work as the LGBTQA+ liaison for UNLPD.

“I work a lot with the center and the director (Pat Tetreault) and I’m trying to better the relationship between law enforcement and that community,” Champion said. “I do our mental health training here, so we touch a lot on the mental health aspects and what the students are dealing with at their age bracket.”

For the efforts he led in UNLPD, Champion received the 2023 Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to the LGBTQA+ Community, which was presented at Lavender graduation, and Collaborate award from Student Affairs during the Inspiring Excellence Awards celebration.

“That was amazing being able to go to Lavender graduation,” Champion said. “I was there last year, but this year I was honored to be up there and receive the award from the Chancellor. That was great but really, it’s more about the work that we’ve done (in the department).

As LGBTQA+ liaison, Champion worked closely with Tetreault, director of the campus LGBTQA+ Center, to develop new training for the department. He performed internal training for UNLPD as part of the work to obtain Safe Space designation for UNLPD, and he also worked with area law enforcement agencies to advance their existing efforts of inclusiveness.

“We’re trying to make a difference,” Champion said. “We’re trying to be somewhere where they can feel safe. They can come and talk to us and hopefully, it will increase reporting of hate-based crimes.

“I think that’s really what I think the center was trying to recognize is that we’re trying to take a step forward in that direction. It increases the visibility of the community, and when it’s done through law enforcement, it shows that you know we’re here, we’re in partnership and we don’t stand for hate-based crimes.”

The Inspiring Excellence Award honored the collaboration with the Center, Title IX, Student Conduct and others.

“(We’ve) really come together as a group to try to do what we can do to make the community safer,” Champion said. “It’s not just law enforcement — the campus is such a unique place — we have Title IX, we have Student Conduct and these other resources as avenues where we can go so if something doesn’t quite meet a criminal aspect. We can work in ways with Student Conduct and Title IX to make sure that students feel safe and feel validated in how they’re feeling. CARE (Center for Advocacy, Response and Education) is great too, where we build a huge relationship with them and make sure that the students that come in have those advocates and can feel supported and just build those partnerships between us and other entities on campus.”

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