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RIC welcomes new Chief of Campus Police, James J. Mendonca

Abigail Nilsson, News Editor

Photo by Abigail Nilsson

On April 29th,  Rhode Island College held a swearing in ceremony for the newly appointed Director of Safety and Security and Chief of Campus Police James J. Mendonca. Chief Mendonca has a detailed history of serving the community. 
Mendonca started his career with the U.S. Marine Corps and continued to become a correctional officer, a patrol officer and eventually the 16th Chief of Police for the Central Falls Police Department. He earned his Bachelor’s of Science Degree in the Administration of Justice from Roger Williams University, and his Master’s of Science in Criminal Justice, with a Concentration in Homeland Security and Emergency Management from Excelsior College. He received a fellowship at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and is a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy.
He has been honored for his service and dedication by the Office of the Attorney General, and was given a Hispanic Heritage Award by members of the Central Falls City Council. He has also received several departmental and individual awards of Congressional Recognition.
As co-chair of the Committee on Civil Rights at the Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association and a member of the Rhode Island Commission on Bias and Prejudice, Chief Mendonca said, “I want to give a sense of comfort for students.” He believes that trust building within the RIC community is integral. “The first interaction a student has with campus police should not be getting a parking ticket.” 
Mendonca feels that students should be comfortable on campus, particularly when they see campus police. Building a trusting relationship with students on campus is very important to him, so that in the event of an issue, students are willing to come to the campus police; especially regarding any Title IX issue. He wants students, their parents and faculty to know that the campus police are there for them.
Proving direct, courteous, and efficient service is one of his goals on campus. He plans to open the lines of communication between students, teachers, and campus police to make the college experience a positive and memorable one. If there is a problem he encourages students to let someone know about it. Mendonca said, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” He adds, “Don’t worry about bothering us, we are here 24 hours a day. If we can not address it, we know or can find out who can.”
Chief Mendonca said, “Change happens at the speed of trust,” and he wants students and their families to know that campus police officers are working to gain a trusting and positive relationship with students and faculty members on campus.