FSU hires new police chief

Florida State University announced Thursday it is hiring Rhonda L. Harris as its new chief of...
Florida State University announced Thursday it is hiring Rhonda L. Harris as its new chief of police.(FSU)
Published: Feb. 10, 2022 at 12:18 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Florida State University announced Thursday it is hiring Rhonda L. Harris as its new chief of police. Harris, who is a law enforcement veteran of 37 years, will also serve as the university’s new assistant vice president for public safety when she starts in May, the press release says.

Harris had served as Old Dominion University’s police chief since 2012, and she added the title of assistant vice president for public safety in 2014, FSU says.

Kyle Clark, FSU’s vice president of finance and administration, says the university is excited to bring Harris aboard.

“The safety of our students and the entire campus community is a responsibility that we take very seriously,” Clark said. “I am delighted that Chief Harris has agreed to join us. Her dedication to public safety and decades of experience, including serving campus communities, make her a great fit to lead the FSU Police Department.”

As FSU’s police chief, Harris will be in charge of the FSU Police Department, which employs about 80 sworn officers. The department is a fully accredited law enforcement agency, and it’s responsible for campus access and security services, emergency management, and transportation and parking services on campus properties, the press release says.

Harris says it’s an honor to be at the helm of FSUPD.

“I’m looking forward to meeting the FSU community and working together to help ensure we maintain a safe campus environment,” she says.

FSU’s release says Harris started her law enforcement career in 1985 as a police officer in El Reno, Oklahoma. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rutgers University, a master’s degree in forensic psychology from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a master’s degree in public affairs and administration from Rutgers.

Harris spent 23 years at Rutgers before going to ODU. She started as a police officer in 1989 and ultimately became chief of police at Rutgers in 2006. She held that job until 2012 the release says.

Harris has also graduated from the following programs:

  • West Point Command and Leadership Program
  • Advanced Police Executive Development Program of Penn State
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminars
  • FBI National Academy Session #232
  • Harvard Kennedy School for Executive Education

FSU says its police chief post has been vacant since Terri Brown’s retirement in Aug. 2021. Brown was part of the FSUPD force for 30 years. The university says Justin Maloy served as interim chief before Harris’ hire ended the national search for Brown’s replacement.

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