Oregon State University names interim police chief

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University announced today that Edgar Rodriguez, a community and higher education public safety leader, will serve as OSU’s interim associate vice president for public safety and chief of police.

Rodriguez has served as the associate vice president and chief of public safety/emergency management at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut since 2014. He leads the university’s Department of Public Safety, and develops and implements programs to ensure the safety and security of a diverse campus community.

Rodriguez is expected to start at OSU on May 25, 2020, contingent on fulfilling customary university hiring requirements.

Rodriguez will lead a new police department on OSU’s Corvallis campus. The Oregon State University Board of Trustees established the department last month. The department will operate within Oregon State’s Department of Public Safety and begin operations on July 1, after contracts for law enforcement services on OSU’s Corvallis campus with the Oregon State Police end on June 30.

Rodriguez said he is honored to assist in OSU’s law enforcement transition. He said he will initially focus on building trust through transparency, open lines of communication and strong customer service. He said professionalism, responsibility, integrity, dedication and excellence – or “PRIDE” – describe the core operational values that he will uphold in leading the university’s new law enforcement department.

“This position is an outstanding opportunity to become a proactive member of an international public research university and to serve a diverse community of students, faculty and staff,” Rodriguez said. “This position will provide me with the opportunity to share my experience, education and commitment to serve Beaver Nation.”

Mike Green, OSU’s vice president of finance and administration, described Rodriguez’s hiring as an important step in OSU’s process to establish a law enforcement department that aligns with the university’s culture and educational mission.

“Edgar is committed to establishing and fostering strong communications, engagement and positive working relationships with OSU students, faculty, staff and the greater Corvallis community,” he said. “He also will build strong collaborations with community, county and state public safety agencies that OSU engages with.”

The university has begun the process to recruit, hire and train licensed law enforcement employees to field a well-trained, professional public safety department with licensed police officers.

Rodriguez is expected to serve in the interim role for two years, leading the university’s planning and development of community-based law enforcement and public safety services and programs on the Corvallis campus.

He brings a broad background and deep knowledge of campus-based engagement, public safety and community policing, law enforcement leadership and emergency management to Oregon State. Throughout his career, Rodriguez has served in positions with the Department of Public Safety at Quinnipiac University, the Connecticut State Police and the Beacon Falls Police Department in Connecticut.

“Edgar’s experience with law enforcement and experience in higher education stood out among the candidates we spoke with,” said Paul Odenthal, senior associate vice president for administration, who chaired the search for the interim police chief. “His commitment to transparency and approach to engaging students are well aligned to the values and principles we have heard from our community throughout our listening sessions.”

Rodriguez holds a bachelor’s degree in individual studies, public safety administration from Charter Oak State College in Connecticut and a master’s degree in business management from Albertus Magnus College in Connecticut.

Currently, the University of Oregon, Portland State University and all Pac-12 conference members operate their own police departments.

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