Over the course of his decades-long career, University of Maryland Police Chief David Mitchell has held a number of top public safety jobs.

Mitchell has served as the Prince George's County police chief, the Maryland State Police superintendent and Delaware's secretary of safety and homeland security. And for nearly three years, he's headed the College Park university's police department, serving 60,000 students and staff.

Last month, Mitchell received recognition for his professional and academic achievements by the Public Safety Leadership Association at Johns Hopkins University.

"It's so humbling that I was selected," said Mitchell, who described the tribute as a lifetime achievement award.

Mitchell was accepted into the Prince George's police academy in 1971 at the age of 20. By working in law enforcement, he followed in the footsteps of his father, who was a military police officer.

When the opportunity to become the University of Maryland police chief arose, Mitchell said he thought, "What a perfect place to go, have fun, protect my community." Plus, he said he's a die-hard Terrapins fan.

During his time as a police officer, Mitchell has also furthered his education. He has a bachelor's degree, a master's degree in public policy and a law degree, all from the University System of Maryland.

"Education has no finish line," he said.

But when asked what he considered his biggest achievement, Mitchell didn't point to any of his jobs or degrees. Instead, he cited his three children.