McDonald Observatory lawman is UT-system officer of month
McDONALD OBSERVATORY – Joseph Michael Pasqua, the safety coordinator and police officer at the University of Texas McDonald Observatory, has been named officer of the month of August by the UT system.
He has worked at McDonald since June 2006. He is also the operations chief of the Emergency Response Team and a member of the Emergency Management Team.
Pasqua attended Sul Ross State University obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Management and Criminal Justice in 1990. He attended the Sul Ross Police Academy where he obtained his basic Peace Officer certification in August 1990.
In the past two decades, Pasqua served his profession as an active member of the Big Bend Area Law Enforcement Officer’s Association where he served as president in 1998.
He is an instructor for McDonald’s Emergency Response Team, the Fort Davis Volunteer Fire Department as well as an instructor for future peace officers at the Sul Ross Police Academy. He was chosen by the 2012 cadet class to be the guest speaker at their commencement exercise.
In 2008, Pasqua played a key role in establishing the Big Bend Area Law Enforcement Fallen Officer’s Memorial located on the Sul Ross campus, after losing his partner, Deputy Stockburger, in the line of duty after a shootout with a criminal while employed with the Fort Stockton Police Department. Pasqua was a shot four times during the incident. This happened on December 11, 1990, only four days after Pasqua had finished his field training. As a result of this incident, Deputy Stockburger died a few years later due to complications from the injuries he sustained.
Pasqua received the International Association Chiefs of Police, Kevlar/DuPont Survivors award and was inducted into the “Kevlar Survivors Club” on December 1990.
Pasqua continued his career in law enforcement and currently holds a Masters Peace officer certification, Instructors Certification and a Special Investigators certification. He has been credited with more than 2,500 continuing education hours through the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education.
Pasqua has served the law enforcement profession as a patrol officer, Drug Abuse Resistance Education Instructor, line supervisor as well as a Certified Juvenile and Adult Community Supervision Officer.
He serves as a first responder to all emergency situations, not only as a law enforcement officer, but as volunteer firefighter and a wild land arson investigator.
He has been a volunteer firefighter for the past 19 years. In the past two years, he has had the opportunity to assist in one of the largest wild land fires in Texas History. The Rock House Fire in April 2011 consumed 25 homes and structures and burned about 315,000 acres in Fort Davis.
He volunteered as a first responder for the first 72 hours of the fire non-stop and then transitioned into the incident command staff serving as a local resource as well as continuing to battle the fire. During the six weeks of the fire, Pasqua not only worked his duty assignment at McDonald Observatory, but continued to volunteer his off duty time battling the fire protecting the threatened University of Texas research facility. A few days after the Rock House fire ended, he also worked the Tejano Canyon Fire, which burned for three weeks. Once again, Pasqua volunteered his off duty time to battle yet another fire to protect the threatened University of Texas research facility.
He is the father of Fort Davis High Schoo junior Ashleigh Pasqua.
He encourages everyone that he has contact with to believe in themselves, take pride in who they are, and remember: “Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.” – Abraham Lincoln.