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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Rice University chief of police to head GWPD

A former chief of police at Rice University will oversee the GW Police Department.

James Tate, who has served as the chief of police and director of public safety at Rice University for about two years, will begin Jan. 21, according to a University release Wednesday.

“I’m excited to join the workforce at GW and really look forward to meeting the University’s goals and the department goals while I’m there,” Tate said in the release.

Tate will be the fifth person to oversee GWPD since 2018. Former GWPD Chief RaShall Brackney resigned in early 2018, and interim chief Bessie Burrus was replaced by Darell Darnell later that year. Darnell suddenly left the department last spring, and Mary Paradis, who served as assistant chief of police, has served as the interim head since.

Tate began working in law enforcement in 1988 and has served as a patrol and D.A.R.E. officer and a SWAT team member. He also served for 21 years in the National Guard after being called for active duty, the release states.

Tate has served in several positions in higher education since 2011 at the University of Arkansas, the University of Saint Thomas and Lamar and Rice universities, according to the release.

“As police officers, we can have an impact in a positive way on how their education process goes, how the environment is for them on campus,” Tate said. “If you’re working for a municipality or for a county, you don’t get to develop that sort of community policing relationship, and I think that’s what I like about it the most.”

Scott Burnotes, the associate vice president for safety and security, said Tate was selected to oversee GWPD because of his prior experience in higher education. He said Paradis, GWPD’s interim chief, will become the assistant vice president of safety and security at Marymount University but plans to remain a “resource” for GW through the Consortium of Universities, a nonprofit that shares higher education practices among DMV schools.

“The search committee quickly recognized that Chief Tate had the right skills and level of experience to take GWPD to the next level,” Burnotes said. “He is a proven leader in higher education law enforcement who has successfully engaged with students, faculty and staff to create safe and secure campus environments.”

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