Tue Mar 17, 2015
2:00pm - 3:00pm
Hazel B. Kerper Courtroom
Alumnus Steven Jeter is a proud member of the Texas Rangers, an elite division of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) charged with investigating major incidents, unsolved and serial crimes, public corruption, officer-involved shootings, border security and much, much more.
"It’s humbling to be a member of the Texas Rangers," said Jeter, a graduate of Sam Houston State University with a bachelor ('93) and master's degree ('95) in Kinesiology. "I am doing the same thing that guys and gals have been doing for the last 200 years. It's a neat organization to be a part of. The bar has been set high."
Jeter, who is an adjunct instructor in Kinesiology at SHSU, joined the Texas Department of Public Safety in 1997 and served in highway patrol for 10 years. The unit is mainly responsible for traffic enforcement on the state highways and interstates and the investigation of traffic-related crashes. During his tenure, Jeter was recognized as being one of the leaders in the state for DWI enforcement.
"DWI is a senseless crash, and the one that is most preventable," he said. As a trooper, Jeter has seen more than his share of death and destruction. “You will see some of the worst things you will ever see in car crashes,” he said. “I’ve seen people beaten up, stabbed and shot, but it doesn’t compare to what happens to the body in a car crash.”
Jeter was appointed as a Texas Ranger in 2007, where he oversees protection of the border and protection of citizens – the same mission mandated when the agency was created in 1832. The division is the investigative arm of Texas DPS, and he works all kinds of cases, from homicides, to sexual assaults to police officer investigations, to name just a few.
Jeter serves as the Coordinator of the Crisis Negotiation Team, which accompanies troopers and other law enforcement agencies executing high-risk search or arrest warrants, and as a member of the Crime Scene Investigation team, which investigates the aftermath of a crime. As a Ranger in a rural area, he is responsible for all aspects of the crime scene, including interviews and crime scene investigation.
“We do everything a lab can do, except for the analysis,” Jeter said.
Over the last seven years, Jeter has been involved in several high profile cases in the state, including the shootings at Fort Hood; the killing of a Klein Forest student by the MS-13 gang who dumped his body in the Sam Houston National Forest; and the 2012 murder of a Huntsville teen who was stabbed to death in her home.
The Texas Rangers have had a long and proud history in Texas and represent the best of the best in their department. Since the 1980s, women have joined the formally all-male division, and a female Ranger was recently promoted to Lieutenant. To become a Texas Ranger, you first must serve as a trooper.
Jeter said while other Bearkats are or have been Texas Rangers, he is the first from the Bearkat football team.
In 1991, he was a defensive end for the championship team and went on to be the first assistant strength coach hired by Sam Houston State University.
After graduating from SHSU, he was a teacher and coach before joining the Department of Public Safety. Jeter said the DPS currently has 300 openings, but there is one key element that keeps many candidates from being hired: integrity. He said it is important for future troopers to live their lives correctly both on and off the job.
“You have to make the right decision whether big Daddy is watching or not,” said Jeter. “You have to stand up and not be afraid to say you are different – in the right way.”