Dear OSU community members,

The Department of Public Safety wants you to know that we feel the pain, the outrage and the impact of the tragic and avoidable death of George Floyd. As a country, we have witnessed too many examples of this racist behavior, and it continues today despite demands from the public for police reform.

I am writing today to share my commitment and approach to community partnerships within the OSU community.  

At this time, each of us bears the societal responsibility to do everything in our power to change the abhorrent reality confronting communities plagued with systemic inequality and discrimination against the Black community and other communities of color. We must rise and speak out. If not we are bystanders to prejudice, and we must commit to educating all on the importance of inclusivity and equality. We also need to actively protect those among us who are most vulnerable. 

While I am new to Oregon State University, I know that we are a university founded on comprehensive excellence for all people. I also believe we must hold one another accountable for our actions and encourage courageous conversations about the most challenging topics that arise. And I believe that our public service foundation must be built upon trust, openness and civility to truly protect and serve our unique university community.

The foundation of public safety and law enforcement in a campus setting starts with building trust through sharing of information, being fully transparent, fostering positive and personal relationships, and maintaining daily lines of communication. I assure that at OSU, public safety will be in line with the university’s values and principles.

As OSU’s public safety leader, I shall set a clear expectation for the entire department on how we move forward with community engagement. My pledge to the university community is that we will create an approach to public safety that is friendly, caring, safe and understanding. In doing so, we will help all community members know they are welcome, safe and belong here.

We will hold all Public Safety Department employees accountable by developing measurable goals that are consistent with university values and build a system to ensure greater effectiveness and accountability to the OSU community through training, discipline, and commitment to achieve results.

One of my first initiatives will be to create a Community Oriented Results and Expectation Committee (CORE). The purpose of this committee is to collaborate with OSU community members to address their issues and concerns through cooperative effort and review of community needs, and by discussing expectations and responses relative to public safety services, quality-of-life issues and community-oriented policing. In the days and weeks ahead, I will continue to share my developing concepts and plans for public safety and Corvallis campus police services, and seek and listen to input from students, faculty and staff.  Before then, I want the OSU community to know that I hear your concerns regarding Black Lives Matter, racial inequality and policing nationally. Please know that I will engage you in creating public safety and community policing services that represents what is best for the university, students, faculty and staff.

As a member of the OSU community myself – and in my role leading public safety – I look forward to building a personal and trusting working relationship with our student cultural resource centers, leaders within student government and all students, faculty and staff. 

In closing, I want you to know that I chose to become a police officer 30 years ago after witnessing first-hand, the mistreatment of my father by police. I made a commitment to make a positive difference and be a public servant for my community.  

I believed then – just as I believe now – that through transparency, accountability and collaboration with the very communities that we collectively serve, we can provide appropriate, trusted and valued community and public safety services. I remain committed to safety, diversity and inclusivity for all, and I am fully committed to help rebuild the law enforcement community across America into a noble and trusted profession.

Working together with university community members and collaborators, I am confident that we will set an exemplary standard and lead the way. Please join me in this effort and I invite you to reach out to me personally at Edgar.Rodriguez@oregonstate.edu.

 

Respectfully,

Edgar Rodriguez
Interim Associate Vice President of Public Safety and Chief of Police