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Monday, February 17, 2020 — Houston, TX 74°

RUPD names new chief

Courtesy RUPD

By Savannah Kuchar     1/14/20 11:36pm

Captain Clemente Rodriguez will assume the role of Rice University chief of police starting this Thursday, following the departure of current chief James Tate to George Washington University. 

Rodriguez said he has been at Rice for 18 years and has served as interim police chief twice in the past.  He said he believes this experience will greatly help him in his new role.

“Because I’ve been here for awhile, I’ve worked closely with everyone in the department and I think that has been the key to helping me be successful,” Rodriguez said. “People have got behind me each time that I have had the opportunity to be the interim, and we were able to do some really great things, even in those periods of time.”

As the new chief, Rodriguez said one of his biggest responsibilities will be setting the direction for the department as a whole.

“[My job is] creating or fostering a culture where everyone in the department feels valued and has trust in what we’re doing, and feels that they are part of the success of the department,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said he plans on finding ways to support and improve relations between students and Rice University Police Department by encouraging officers to be more visible and accessible to the community.

“One of my goals would be to emphasize to our officers the importance of engaging the campus community, engaging students,” Rodriguez said. “I really feel like the success of safety on our campus can’t be done with RUPD alone, we definitely need our students, our staff, our faculty, our community to be engaged in helping us with that.”

Rodriguez said that he has been trying to make this effort to be more connected with students and the Rice community throughout his 18 years here.

“I always say my favorite part of the job is getting out in front of the students and talking to students.  I want to be accessible,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve already had some conversations about going to some of the student leadership meetings coming up and just introducing myself for those that don’t know me and answering questions and trying to be somebody that is easy to approach and talk to.”

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