Faculty Spotlight ~ Christopher Schear
Family motivates young officer
By Laurie Mellas Ramirez
|Officer Schear has been on main campus since 2001.
Gallup native Christopher Schear, age 24, may be one of the youngest UNM police officers, but he is also among the wisest.
Schear was recruited from the UNM Gallup Police Academy in 2001.
“I took a lot of ribbing for being so young,” he recalled.
But Schear had already experienced what many seasoned officers never do. In 1995, his sister was murdered. The tragedy motivated him to get serious about his future.
“It’s the things that maybe don’t happen to you, but happen in your life that change you forever,” he said.
Senior year in high school Schear took criminal justice courses at UNM Gallup. Upon graduating, he enrolled in the campus police academy, worked as security for the branch and took college classes. Recruiters from the main campus police department took notice and invited him to work in Albuquerque.
Lieutenant James Madrid, head of the UNM Gallup Police Department and instructor for the academy, said Schear was an exceptional student. Superiors at main campus value him, too. In 2003, Schear was named UNM Officer of the Year.
“Chris provides exceptional public service to the university community,” said Kathy Guimond, UNM police chief. “He is the type of officer we seek to hire. It is our philosophy to hire officers who not only do law enforcement, but officers who can think on their feet, exercise good judgment and be problem solvers.”
Schear is working on a bachelor’s degree from UNM and aspires to join the U.S. Marshal Service one day. The son of Janelle and Joe Schear of Gallup, he says he learned right from wrong at home. He hopes to make his parents proud.
“I grew up in Gallup with my mother and grandparents until I was seven years old. Then the best thing in my life happened. My mom met my stepdad who has always been there for me and has gone above and beyond his responsibilities. I believe that if he wasn’t in my life, there is no way I would be the person I am and there would be no chance of me becoming the person I want to be in the future,” Schear said.
Recruited just prior to Sept. 11, the tragic events reinforced his choice to be in law enforcement.
“All that matters is that you love the job and that you love to make a difference,” Schear said.