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Rodriguez steps in as interim chief of public safety
The university has appointed former Deputy Chief of Public Safety Edgar Rodriguez as the interim chief of public safety after the former chief David Barger chose to take a personal leave, according to a memo from Executive Vice President and Provost Mark Thompson on April 8.
Barger was set to retire on June 30 but decided he needed to take some time off due to personal issues.
Rodriguez said he was shocked when he found out a week ago that he would be the interim chief, but he remained confident.
“I have worked closely with Dave [Barger] for the past five years as his deputy chief and I understand why he was taking some time off,” he said. “I’m confident because we have done a lot in the past five years with the department and we have been successful with our initiatives to get Public Safety to where it is today.”
Rodriguez has 28 years of experience in law enforcement, 23 of which were with the Connecticut State Police.
“The last 12 years I spent with [the Connecticut State Police] I was in charge of the fire and explosion unit,” he said. “I have a lot of background and am also a certified emergency manager.”
Rodriguez is also a certified firefighter in the state of Connecticut and has background in homeland security.
After working for Connecticut state police, he worked in the town of Beacon Falls as a lieutenant and chief commander in charge of a 13 man police department.
Rodriguez said he is proud of how far the department has come since he has been here.
“I have witnessed in four years of growth in the Department of Public Safety through training, discipline, accountability and commitment and I think we are going to continue that,” he said.
Rodriguez said that during his time as interim chief of public safety, he wants to continue to create a positive relationship between Public Safety and the community.
“I want faculty, students and staff to be comfortable coming into public safety,” he said. “I don’t want students to come in here thinking they are in trouble when they come to public safety. I want them to come here so we can help them with whatever they need. I don’t want them to think that they are only coming to public safety when there is an issue or a problem.”
Although Rodriguez was named the interim chief, it is not official that he will be Chief Barger’s permanent replacement. But Rodriguez said if he was to be the new chief, not much would change.
“We have been moving forward positively over the past four years and we have accomplished a lot,” he said. “The department works really well and all I would do is just keep the department going and move the department towards a brighter future.”
As of right now, Rodriguez does not know who will be the next chief of public safety, but he hopes that he will remain in charge.
“It’s just me right now and I hope that I will remain the chief but only time will tell,” he said. “I am looking forward to the challenge and I am humbled that Mark Thompson has entrusted me with the leadership of the department and I am here to work together with all of the community.”