In Spring 2020, the UCF Police Department announced James Mangan ’09 will serve as regional commander. His duties include overseeing 20 sworn law enforcement officers, several civilian personnel and all police services for UCF Downtown, as well as for the Rosen College of Hospitality Management and College of Medicine. Based out of UCFPD’s substation on Amelia Street in downtown Orlando, we sat down with Cmdr. Mangan to get to know a little more about the UCF grad.
What did you earn your degree in?
Interdisciplinary studies with a minor in criminal justice
Describe your experience at UCF.
I started my law enforcement career at the UCF Police Department when I was 20 years old in 2001. During my service I have had assignments to our DUI Unit, Patrol Division, Regional Campus Division, Criminal Investigations Division and Crime Prevention Unit.
Why did you choose to work at UCF Police and how does it compare to other agencies?
I applied at UCF Police Department while I was in the Law Enforcement Academy after I had a ride along and began to interact with members of the agency. I quickly realized this was the place for me.
What sets us apart from any other agency is also what has kept me here at UCF for the past two decades. That is our ability to actually make a difference in our community.
In many ways, UCFPD is no different than any other local police agency. We are a full service and accredited law enforcement agency. We have our own 911 call center, Investigations Division and respond to all types of calls for service. What sets us apart from any other agency is also what has kept me here at UCF for the past two decades. That is our ability to actually make a difference in our community. Our chief strongly believes in our team being part of the community and having as many positive interactions with students, faculty, staff and the surrounding community as possible. Many of our agency members are also alumni, or currently taking classes at UCF, and have a vested interest in keeping UCF a safe place to live, learn and work.
Describe the proudest moment of your career.
I have received two lifesaving awards through our department which are meaningful to me. In general, I am most proud of how our teams come together to accomplish our shared mission. Policing often involves high stress situations, and in those moments all we have is each other. As a team, we rely on our training, experience and on our fellow first responders to bring order and peace to a chaotic scene.
When not on patrol, how do you spend your free time?
I enjoy spending time with my wife and two children. We go to the beach, like to travel together and most recently became annual passholders at Disney. I have also recently started to live more of a healthy lifestyle which includes running several 5Ks.
What’s your favorite TV show?
Do you have any hidden talents?
My main superpower is always being able to pick the slowest line to be in. I also played trumpet in high school and college.
What are you most passionate about?
I am a huge UCF sports fan and was at the Peach Bowl when we beat Auburn. I also love attending UCF basketball and baseball games as much as I can.
What’s your favorite lunch spot in downtown Orlando?
So far, my favorite is King Bao (710 N Mills Ave.). I am always open to suggestions, so if you see me please tell me your favorites.