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Changing of the Chief
Quinnipiac Chief of Public Safety Edgar Rodriguez accepts job at Providence College
During his seven and a half years working at QU Rodriguez spent three as chief of Public Safety. He managed to implement many of the components that have made the department what it is today.
Assistant Chief of Public Safety James Nealy is familiar with the work that Rodriguez has done in that time. Nealy and Rodriguez were classmates together at the Connecticut State Police Academy, and have remained close ever since.
Nealy explained that Quinnipiac’s Public Safety department grew to be so effective because of Rodriguez’s leadership.
“In order to be successful in an environment like this, you have to have supervision, training and policies and procedures. He instituted that,” Nealy said.
Nealy went on to explain the vast growth the department has seen under Rodriguez.
“He’s developed a set of values – philosophical values, department policies. When I came here, there were only four or five (policies)… there’s about 60 now,” he said.
Some of these policies include the creation of the Emergency Management Team, revamped Public Safety officer training and arming Public Safety officers, among many others.
Rodriguez himself believes his greatest accomplishment in his time at the university has been the overall growth of the culture within the department.
“As the Quinnipiac University Public Safety Chief, my first initiative was to change the Public Safety department culture, which reflects what the department believes in as an organization,” he explained. “These beliefs are reflected in the Public Safety department’s recruiting and selection practices, policies and procedures, accountability, training and development, and ultimately, in the actions of its officers.”
Rodriguez was also responsible for implementing sergeants at the university.
Nealy described that other departments, including those from other universities, have come to Rodriguez to seek advice.
“He’s professionalized this department so impressively… People are calling him and asking ‘How do you do these things?’” Nealy said. “We train with the state police, Hamden, North Haven and Cheshire. We do some training with Yale PD, Fairfield and University of Hartford. We have that expertise, and those people are calling us. They’re using our model to move forward.” Rodriguez first came to the university in 2009, following 23 years with the Connecticut State Police.
As for the personal connection between the two, Nealy explained that it was Rodriguez that recruited him here to Quinnipiac.
“He said ‘Hey Jimmy, look, I need to do what I need and I can’t do it without the right team,” Nealy said.
Nealy stressed the importance Rodriguez has placed on teamwork and accountability within the department.
“No matter how talented you are, you have to have a team to get you from where you are to where you want to go,” he said. “He is a transformational leader. He makes departments like this better. This place really runs itself… everybody knows what the expectations are, what the rules and regulations are. They know that they have to take ownership of what they do.”
Nealy finds it to be no surprise that another university wanted to put Rodriguez in charge of their public safety department.
“A leader is a person who has a vision, can explain that vision to you and empower you as well in moving toward that vision. That is one of the reasons that people are so attracted to him,” Nealy said.
Despite doubt from others, Rodriguez managed to take the public safety department to heights it had never reached before, according to Nealy.
“The control center has been updated. We’re connecting with the one up top in case something happens… None of that would have been done without him,” Nealy said. “We went armed even though people told us we wouldn’t be able to do it. When you have a plan, and know how to get there, you make it work. “
On a personal note, Nealy will be disappointed to see Rodriguez go, but is thankful for the opportunity he had to work alongside him at the university.
“For me, it’s very difficult to see him go, but he’s done his thing here,” Nealy said. “He put it together, got it running and it runs itself. He’ll be a hard man to replace.”
In a notification sent out to the university, Executive Vice President and Provost Mark Thompson explained that the university will now undergo a search for a new chief of Public Safety.
“A national search for a new chief of public safety will begin immediately, and we hope to have the next chief in place as soon as possible,” Thompson stated in the notification.