Law enforcement is more than just a career for Lance Scott.
It is his passion. One could say it defines him.
Born in Levelland but raised in Perryton, Scott, chairperson of the Professional Services and Energy Department and associate professor of law enforcement at South Plains College, has always had the idea of being a police officer in mind.
Scott started his college career at South Plains College, earning an Associate of Applied Science degree in Law Enforcement Technology in 1994. However, Scott then took a break from college, before returning in 2002 to earn a Bachelor of Science degree from Wayland Baptist University in Occupational Education, with a Human Services/Criminal Justice specialization.
Scott later earned a Master of Science degree in Information Technology in 2008, a Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice in 2010, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Information Technology in 2015, all from Capella University.
When he was growing up, Scott knew he either wanted to be a soldier or a police officer.
“I believe it is something I was born to do,” Scott said, “and this was God’s call on my life.”
Wanting to become a police officer started at a young age for Scott. That dream never changed.
“I remember seeing a police officer directing traffic at a school crosswalk when I was in kindergarten,” Scott recalls, “and I think this was the first time that I thought of becoming a police officer.”
Scott says his time at SPC influenced his life so much that he considers it to be the two best years of his life.
“It was so great I decided that someday I wanted to come back and teach at South Plains College,” said Scott. “Being there had a tremendous impact on my life.”
He says that he struggled in high school, where he was more of an introvert. But it was the culture, faculty, and learning environment at SPC that caused him to change.
“I eventually served as Law Enforcement Club President and was even elected Homecoming King,” Scott added. “The faculty of SPC expected students to strive for excellence, and it truly set me up for academic success, even as I pursued my graduate studies.”
Starting as a peace officer in the Hockley County Sheriff’s Office wasn’t easy at first, according to Scott.
“Shift work, stress, dealing with people in crisis, as well as the politics of the position contribute to the difficulty,” said Scott. “Helping people get through their crisis, taking criminals off the streets, and seeking justice for victims is very rewarding.”
However, in 2002, Scott faced a difficult ethical dilemma while working for the Sheriff’s Office in Hockley County.
“I had witnessed some activity that put me in a position of either staying quiet or face losing my job as the Jail Administrator and Deputy Sheriff,” said Scott.
But things didn’t end up in his favor at first. Shortly after Scott reported the activity, he was terminated from his position.
“This was a devastating, life-changing moment for me and my family,” said Scott.
Seven years later, the individuals who Scott reported ended up being arrested and convicted. However, in that time, Scott was unable to find work in the one thing he wanted to do most.
“This was a difficult and humbling experience but reaffirmed my strong belief in always doing the right thing,” said Scott.
Scott has had various jobs after starting out at the Sheriff’s Office in Hockley County. He held positions of Jailer, Deputy Sheriff, and Jail Administrator. He also served on SWAT teams.
At SPC, Scott served as the Distance Education Network Coordinator and director of Instructional Technology, prior to becoming a law enforcement instructor.
“Teaching is the most rewarding and fulfilling job I have ever had,” Scott said, “because it allows me to impact the future of the law enforcement profession. I love to see a student graduate from our program and go on to accomplish great things in the field of criminal justice.”
In 1997, Scott got the opportunity to accomplish something very few do. He was named the Correctional Officer of the Year by the Texas Jail Association. Scott also received a Law Enforcement Achievement Award for Professional Achievement from the state of Texas.
“I am one of 84 peace officers in Texas to receive the Law Enforcement Achievement Award for Professional Achievement,” Scott said proudly.
Despite the setback of not having a job in law enforcement for seven years, Scott has accomplished memorable things and has always stood by his life motto.
“Always do the right thing,” added Scott.