The Tulsa Board of Education unanimously approved a recommendation from Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Zolkoski to hire a 30-year law enforcement veteran to lead the District's first police department. The 7-0 vote on Monday makes official Gary Rudick's employment with Oklahoma's largest school district.
Rudick was selected to lead Oklahoma's largest school district in its effort to provide a safe and secure learning environment for its 40,000 students and 6,500 employees.
"I think we have a really great police chief," said Dr. Zolkoski after months of reviewing applications and interviewing candidates. "Gary has the law enforcement experience and leadership skills to get this police department off to a strong start."
Rudick is currently Chief of Police in Durant, Oklahoma. He said it was not easy making the decision to leave Durant after three years at the helm there.
"The experience in Durant has been one of the most professionally rewarding of my entire life," said Rudick, who was present for the Board vote on Monday. "I will always be in debt to Durant and its citizens for giving me the chance to prove that I could be an effective police administrator."
Rudick said he is excited about coming home to Tulsa for a new challenge that will have him working closely with some of his former colleagues. Prior to taking the Chief's position in Durant, Rudick had retired as a captain from the Tulsa Police Department after more than 20 years of service. He said he's looking forward to working with TPD again, this time in a new capacity.
"I'm excited about using my law enforcement experience to start the TPS Police Department from the ground up," Rudick said. "The thought of building a district department was one of the things that drew me back to Tulsa."
Along with Rudick's extensive administrative experience, he will have the funding to build a quality police force. Oklahoma Congressman John Sullivan and Senator Jim Inhofe worked diligently to secure half a million dollars in federal funding for law enforcement in the District. The money will help pay for patrol vehicles, uniforms, badges and other law enforcement necessities.
Rudick serves as First Vice-President of the Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police and is active in training new police chiefs. Under his leadership, the Durant Police Department won a number of state and national awards and designations.
Gary Rudick will continue in his duties as Chief of Durant Police until May 2nd. He is expected to start working with Tulsa Public Schools on May 5th.
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