Tulsa Schools Police Chief Gary Rudick To Retire

Monday, January 6th 2014, 8:56 pm
By: News On 6

The police chief of Tulsa Public Schools is retiring at the end of this month, so the district is beginning a nationwide search for his replacement. TPS hired Gary Rudick five years ago and asked him to create a campus police department from scratch.

When Tulsa Public Schools hired Gary Rudick, he was the only officer. Now, there are nearly 100 people working for the campus police department.

When Rudick started, there were about 30 surveillance cameras, now there are more than 3,000, and by the end of the week, every single school will have magnetic locking doors.

Gary Rudick was a Tulsa police officer for 25 years, then chief of the Durant Police Department for five and has put in more than five as the chief at Tulsa Public Schools.

His team protects and serves 40,000 students and 7,000 employees. Unlike most police departments, arrests are not their top priority.

Goals For Tulsa Campus Police

"Arresting people in an educational environment, arresting students would be like shooting fish in a barrel," said Chief Gary Rudick, TPS Police.

"If I wanted to arrest kids all day, I could do it, but we've worked really hard and in the past five years, arrests are down 50 percent. We're finding alternatives to arrest. We emphasize quick consequences, quick responses so we can de-escalate and prevent, and that's what we want to do."

9/16/2013 Related Story: Tulsa Public Schools Police Department Marks 5 Years Of Service

He says the person who takes over needs a strong law enforcement, emergency management background. The new chief also needs to be someone who understands the educational system.

Rudick thinks it would be great if the new chief had good relationships with local law enforcement but says the search will be nationwide.

The position pays between $70,000 and $90,000 a year, and he warns - it's not a retirement job.

"If you're not prepared to put in 50-60 hours a week and be on call all the time as a resource for the district, don't apply," Rudick said.

Review Tulsa Public Schools Security Incidents In 2012-2013

Chief Rudick says the biggest change he's seen since starting the district's police force is students now know officers can be mentors and trusted, which helps stop crimes before they happen.

"She sought him out and said, 'hey, there's a kid in school with a gun, and here's what he's wearing, and that's him coming down the hall,'" he said. "We were able to confiscate a gun from a student whose soul purpose of using it."

A committee made up of police officers and community members will help hire the new chief. Click here to apply for the job.

As for Chief Rudick, he plans to try his hand at being a cattle rancher and wants to spend time with his wife and aging parents.