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News @ ODU

Reception to Introduce New Police Chief Set for March 22

Police chief Rhonda Harris

Old Dominion will hold a reception to introduce Rhonda Harris, the university's new police chief, on Thursday, March 22. The reception is open to the campus community; reservations are due by Friday, March 16, to rsvp@odu.edu or 683-3116.

Hosted by President John Broderick and Chief Operating Officer David Harnage, the reception begins at 3 p.m. in the Hampton/Newport News Room of Webb Center.

Harris, a public safety professional with more than 25 years' experience, previously served as chief of police at Rutgers University New Brunswick.

"Chief Harris possesses a wealth of metropolitan university policing experience, which will enable her to hit the ground running at Old Dominion University," Harnage said. "Her strong leadership skills, knowledge of the intricacies of campus safety and successful collaborations with municipal colleagues will provide a strong cornerstone for ODU's continual efforts to enhance campus safety."

According to Broderick, Harris' experience and commitment to a community policing philosophy made her a clear choice to lead ODU's safety and security division.

"The role of police chief at a metropolitan research university requires a distinctive set of skills and abilities to handle its unique challenges and promote its opportunities. Chief Harris has a proven track record of success and I know the city and ODU community join me in welcoming her," he said.

As director of public safety and chief of police, Harris will oversee a campus safety force of nearly 130 police officers, security guards and civilian personnel. Public safety services include emergency response, crime prevention programs, 24-hour campus-wide patrols and safety escort services. Additionally, she will be responsible for directing the university's emergency preparedness and response operations.

Harris earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's in public administration from Rutgers, and holds a master's in forensic psychology from John Jay College.

She has attended numerous law enforcement professional development programs, including the FBI's National Academy, Advanced Criminal Investigation, High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area and Police Management training programs. Additionally, she is active in several professional organizations, including the New Jersey College and University Public Safety Association and the Middlesex County Police Chiefs Association, of which she serves as president and recording secretary, respectively.

Harris succeeds Chief Rudolph Burwell, who retired last June after a 40-year law enforcement career.