Physical skills require physical training. A new TEEX multi-purpose training facility complete with weight training, showers and locker rooms honors a legendary law enforcement officer who was a driving force behind quality police academy training. Robert E. “Bob” Wiatt spent more than 50 years serving the Bryan/College Station area, the Texas A&M University Police Department and the TEEX Police Academy. Dedicated in 2013, The Physical Skills Training Complex that bears his name stands ready to train future generations on the Texas A&M University Riverside Campus in Bryan. Adjacent to a circuit training exercise and running track, the 10,500-square-foot facility offers an indoor multi-use area for defensive tactic courses and aerobic training.
Before formal police academy requirements were in place, Wiatt played an important role in training new law enforcement officers through the Texas Municipal Police School at TEEX.
“Bob Wiatt was considered a legend in the Brazos Valley, recalls former Texas A&M University Police Chief Elmer Schneider. In 1971, shortly after standards for policing were established by a fledgling state agency, the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, Bob served as the primary instructor during the academy I attended at the Texas A&M Riverside Campus. At that time, Bob did it all. He delivered not only firearms training but defensive tactics and several other basic investigative modules crucial to new officer training &Bob personally demonstrated the importance of law enforcement officers being physically fit and continued his efforts to remain in shape until his final years with the University Police Department.”
Wiatt moved to the Brazos Valley in 1958 after he was assigned to the FBI’s Bryan Field Office. After retiring from the FBI in 1983, he served as director of security and police at Texas A&M University until 2004. Wiatt continued to actively serve the community until his death in 2010.
“Bob was also a physical fitness advocate,” said TEEX Division Director Tom Shehan. “Many former Brazos Valley chiefs acknowledged there is no better place to honor Bob Wiatt than the naming of this physical skills facility after him.”
Former College Station Police Chief Ed Feldman remembers Wiatt as a perfectionist during his training at the academy in 1971. “Once TCOLE established voluntary basic peace officer training standards in 1967 and mandated those standards in 1969, Bob became a driving force behind quality training delivered through the police academy by serving as an adjunct instructor… he helped design a standardized defensive tactics module for the academy and took it upon himself to ensure every cadet understood the importance of not only being physically fit but well prepared if they were required to defend themselves.”
Many of Chief Wiatt’s awards and memorabilia, provided by Mrs. Ann Wiatt, are on display in the building.