After a national search, UND has hired Rodney Clark to be its next associate vice president for public safety and chief of police.

Clark was the first of four finalist candidates to hold a public forum at UND on how they would approach the position of chief of police. At that forum, held on campus on July 19, Clark said university police officers need to act as a bridge to students, by directing them to resources such as mental health services. Problems stemming from mental health issues, Clark said, far exceed violent crimes, and officers need to be aware of where to direct students to receive assistance. Clark will begin his position on Sept. 1.

“I am excited and honored to join the University of North Dakota family,” Clark said. “I will work tirelessly with the professionals in public safety and University Police to ensure we provide quality service to the greater UND campus community and the greater Red River Valley region as well. I thank everyone I met during my interview and now look forward to meeting as many community members as possible in the months and years ahead. Together, my wife, daughter and I look forward to calling Grand Forks and UND our home and supporting the mission and vision of UND.”

Clark currently serves as chief of police for Wichita State University in Kansas. He leads a 44-person police department that includes dispatch and parking operations. Clark serves on numerous university committees, including veterans’ affairs, the president’s diversity council and the university CARE team. Clark is also an adjunct faculty member to both the criminal justice and military science departments at WSU.

Jed Shivers, vice president of finance and operations at UND, said he was pleased with the selection of Clark, based on his history both in law enforcement and with the U.S. military, and with the work he did seeing WSU through the pandemic.

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“When one looks at Chief Clark’s (resume), his commitment to national military service and now higher education shines through,” Shivers said. “Whenever a critical need arose in his career, he stepped up to take on the challenge as he did with the Wichita State University’s facilities administration during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. He’s the type of servant-leader we look for at UND.”

Clark earned his undergraduate degree from Texas State University and a master’s degree in criminal justice from American Military University. His professional military education includes U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, U.S. Air Force Police Administration Course sponsored by Eastern Kentucky University and the U.S. Army Senior Leader Law Enforcement Course.

Clark began his career with the U.S. Air Force in 1995, and served at bases around the country. He deployed to Qatar, following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, where he was responsible for security and law enforcement operations of the American portion of an air base. He went on to serve at other U.S. military installations in South Korea and the United Arab Emirates. He transferred to U.S. Army Military Police Corps in 2007.

Clark will fill the vacancy left by Eric Plummer, who was named chief of police at Radford University in March.