Port of Galveston
Chief Robert V. Pierce oversees the protection of an economic contributor to the State economy with an estimated impact of over $3.1 billion and approximately 13,000 jobs. Born in Sioux Falls, SD, Bob enlisted in the United States Army in 1965, earned an Infantry MOS; was an instructor at rifle and machine gun ranges; earned his jump wings; was selected to attend Officer Candidate School; attended Jungle School in Panama; was twice assigned to Ft Bragg, NC – Special Warfare Center and 82nd Airborne Division; attended Vietnamese Language School at Ft Bliss, TX; served two tours of duty in South Vietnam; graduated from Infantry Officer Advanced School at Ft Benning, GA; bootstrapped at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (Bachelor of Science in Law Enforcement); and attained the rank of Captain in the Infantry, Airborne. Chief Pierce brought 10 years of military experience to his law enforcement career when he was hired as a police officer by the Galveston Police Department in 1975 and later served as Chief of Police. He became a police officer for the Port of Galveston in 2004 and has served as Chief of Police since 2009. Chief Pierce is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Association of Chiefs of Police and the Texas Police Chiefs Association.
His Galveston PD career included Patrol Officer on Evening Watch, Motor Officer, Night Watch Supervisor, Detective, Acting Captain, Jail Lieutenant, Patrol Commander, and as Chief of Police from November 2000 to 2003. He retired and stayed in the Reserves until July 2004 when, after six months, he went to work at the Port of Galveston Police Department. He was a Patrol Officer when Hurricane Ike hit. At that time the Chief was recovering from surgery, the Captain was hospitalized the second day after “Ike” and the Port Director asked the Lieutenant, Senior Sergeant and Officer Pierce if they could carry the department through the crisis…a year later he was Acting Captain and a month after that, he became Chief of Police for the Port. Utilizing pick-up trucks and vans due to high water zones, Chief Pierce and his officers are dispatched for outside traffic patrol and checks on docks, boat slips, containers, railcars, livestock, farm equipment, vehicles, vessel arrivals/departures and more. Since the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (MTSA) was signed November 25, 2002, the Port has been a secured facility under 33 CFR 105 on a 24/7 basis to prevent unauthorized access to the property and to prevent acts of terrorism.
The Port of Galveston deploys a full service Police Department 24/7/365—about one-third of whom are former Galveston PD officers. Working with military, federal, state and local area law enforcement agencies is a daily reality at the Port. Private security companies and contract officers bolster the security and police capabilities of the organization several times a week during peak hours – especially on cruise days when up to 9,000 passengers debark and 9,000 passengers embark within an 8-hour period. The Port Police Department partners with the Galveston Police Department and other area law enforcement agencies during special events especially in the downtown area and at the cruise terminal. We train/work with GPD, GFD, GEMS, County Sheriff’s Department, County Emergency Operations Center, Texas City Bomb Squad, Texas A&M Police Department and the UTMB Police Department. The GPD Crime Scene Investigation unit is also called upon to assist with incidents occurring within confines of the Port. Chief Pierce acknowledged that “the Galveston Police Department has grown and assumed a leadership position for interaction with area law enforcement agencies due in part to relationships with former GPD officers now serving in those local departments. The Inter-local agreements (MAA’s and MOU’s) have brought about positive and productive partnerships.”