To start off our second meeting of the semester, we had the four LEAP interns join us as well as Commissioner Bill Daugette and his wife, with Officer Butterworth of Sam Houston UPD as the first speaker of the evening. One might know of him through Bearkat Orientation, through the various other events that he has spoken at regarding campus safety, the job of university police, or how to deal with certain situations common to campus life.
During our meeting, he focused on different scenarios that college students might experience when interacting with the police: One being a party situation where minors and alcohol are involved, and the other, a simple traffic stop. At the end of his time with us, three volunteers were able to put on “drunk goggles” (which impair balance and cognitive processes, allowing the individual to appear as if they were drunk) and go through common sobriety tests with Officer Butterworth.
The results were entertaining, since none of the participants could keep their balance or pass their sobriety tests (with the exception of Quinn, who miraculously kept his balance during his test).
After Officer Butterworth’s interactive and extremely informative presentation, we were served dinner catered by McKenzie’s Barbeque and Burgers, a local favorite.
During dinner we watched the Texas Tribune Festival’s discussion where the six mayors of the most populated cities in Texas were asked about the effects of COVID-19 and race relations in their respective cities.
The mayors who participated were from the cities of Austin, Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston, El Paso, and San Antonio. All of the mayors expressed how their cities have lost severe amounts of money due to COVID-19, most notably with the city of Houston that has a loss of $162 million. In regard to race relations, the mayors alluded to the fact that they have all been working together in order to arrive at proper solutions for their cities. Mayor Johnson of Dallas was the most hopeful, citing that he was glad that “…COVID-19 has allowed people to be introspective and think about racial issues.”
The discussion was a nice display of teamwork and hope for the future that each of the mayors held.
Lastly, we were able to have a discussion with Walker County Commissioner, Bill Daugette.
He is an alum from Sam Houston, having gone back to school to Sam Houston to get his undergraduate in Political Science and a minor in Finance. He encouraged us all to consider going into public service since the majority of us there are interested in going into law and that his works in public service have allowed him to “make the world a better place.” He walked us through the response that Walker County had to COVID-19 and how the county prepared for the worst, quickly declaring a disaster when COVID-19 struck. He also explained what the responsibilities of the county are and how “people put counties and cities in a tough spot” since many residents demand services but refuse to have their taxes raised, which would pay for said services. He was asked about his most memorable moment of serving the community of Walker County, which was during the time of hurricane Katrina where 10s of thousands of people were traveling through his precinct. The individuals fleeing the threat of the storm would become stuck on the road and he personally delivered gasoline to these individuals which was “taking these people from nothing to get them to something” as Commissioner Daugette described the feat. The night was ended with his last bit of advice to all of us and should be shared amongst our fellow peers: “being a young person you can change the world, don’t give up on that.”