Watkins will serve as a Region 2 Director for the Texas Police Association, a group founded in 1895 to improve the police profession. The organization has 4,000 members statewide, and its mission is to promote training programs.
"We were looking around for ways to diversify and expand and provide fresh input," said TPA President Bob Christy. "Executive Director Watkins is a great addition to the board. She is well respected in the criminal justice profession throughout the state, and we like the things she did at LEMIT. We wanted to get away from the good old boys network."
Through training, exchange of information, and various recognition programs, The Texas Police Association’s mission is to upgrade the efficiency and professional status of all Texas law enforcement officers. It represents law enforcement officers from municipal police departments, sheriff's departments, constable's offices, the Department of Public Safety, federal agencies, and others.
"It’s an honor to be on the Board of a police organization that is instrumental in changes in the field," said Watkins, who has served as Executive Director of LEMIT since 2001. "Their legislative initiatives are about education and learning."
As one of the sponsoring groups, TPA was influential in the adoption of the statute which created the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education (TCLEOSE).
"A lot of organizations provide lawyers; we provide training," said Christy. "If you are train properly and do your job properly, you don’t need a lawyer."
TPA devotes a sizable amount of its resources to the sponsorship and support of law enforcement training and education. The programs cover a broad spectrum of interest and need and include training in management, supervision, and a large variety of specialized law enforcement skills.
The organization will hold its annual training conference in June 2011 in San Antonio, and
Watkins is scheduled to present a seminar on leadership. Among the other topics that will be addressed are drugs, border issues, and school violence. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas is scheduled to be the featured speaker.
While Watkins manages LEMIT, she is still a police officer at heart. She continues to maintain her peace officer license through Walker County District Attorney David Week’s Office.
"My law enforcement license is very important to me,” Watkins said.
Watkins began her career as a juvenile probation officer in Brazos County, a job she held for four year. In 1993, she was a police officer in the College State Police Department and later worked as chief deputy at the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office.
Watkins joined LEMIT in 1997, where she coordinated and implemented the Leadership Command College, a management training initiative that involves Texas A & M, Texas Women’s University and Sam Houston State University. The training is designed to provide police executives with the knowledge and skills necessary for successful leadership in a modern law enforcement agency.
Appointed executive director of the institute in 2001, Watkins is responsible administrative supervision of the institute’s programs and operations. Her experience also includes human resource management and supervision, fiscal planning, strategic planning, and international development initiatives.