Grambling State hires new chief, assistant chief of university police

Rodney Demery, Chief of University Police

GRAMBLING, La. – May 27, 2022 – Grambling State University (GSU) is ramping up campus security with the hiring of a new Chief of Police and Assistant Chief of University Police.
Rodney L. Demery, an American author, television show host, and retired Shreveport Police Department homicide detective will take over as Chief for the Grambling State University Police Department (GSUPD) while longtime Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Department deputy and Southern University of New Orleans police department lieutenant Albert Ernest will become GSU’s new Assistant Chief of Police.

The duo will officially begin work at GSU on June 6.

As GSU’s police chief, Demery will be charged with leading the university’s police department to provide a safe and secure higher education environment, working closely with campus and community partners, as well as university leaders including President Richard J. Gallot, Jr. and Chief Operating Officer Dr. Penya M. Moses, to develop and enhance ongoing crime prevention, safety, security, and community engagement strategies.

“Demery has a strong commitment to community service and engagement. His wide platform in enhancing policing strategies around community needs that engage diverse perspectives on issues of public safety will prove beneficial to our faculty, staff, and students,” Gallot said.

An accomplished law enforcement leader for more than 30 years, Demery started his command experience serving our country in the United States Navy in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. As a war veteran, Demery furthered his command experience as Chief of Police with the City of Beaver Falls Police Department in Pennsylvania.

Demery is also a well-known crime and police department commentator appearing on numerous local, national, and international shows including TV, radio, and podcasts.

He has worked collaboratively with the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Drug Enforcement Agency, Louisiana State Police, multiple police and sheriff departments, several task forces and has a global law enforcement reputation. “[Rodney] Demery believes that he is well-suited to promote officer training and foster resources that will better enable GSUPD to proactively and responsively protect the university’s community,” Moses said. “His military training combined with his personal tragedies will bridge the gap to move GSUPD forward with a greater level of service and commitment.”

Demery’s law enforcement career includes emergency operations, extensive undercover work, as well as investigations in the following areas: sex crimes, burglary, armed robbery, and narcotics. He is S.W.A.T. (Special Weapons and Tactics) certified, a firearms expert, a certified expert of handling officer-involved shootings, a former Navy Master-at-arms, a former military policeman, an experienced certified hostage negotiator and is corrections certified.

Demery’s diverse career includes being a special homicide investigator for the Caddo Parish District Attorney’s Office in homicide and conviction integrity.

He also has administrative oversight experience leading a cold case team in Atlanta that involved the closure of decades old sexual assault and homicide cases. Demery’s special events operations experience includes executive protection and security services for NBA basketball A-list players.

He hosted for an unprecedented three seasons “Investigation Discovery, Murder Chose Me,” a television series highlighting his successful law enforcement career.

Demery recently completed filming a second television show where he is host and investigator for a documentary of ancient murder mysteries in the U.S. and throughout Europe. He is also a published author and has had two books become bestsellers on Amazon Kindle.

“I am honored to serve Grambling State University in this important role,” Demery said. “I look forward to partnering across the University and with our law enforcement partners to continue enhancing the safety of our University.”

Demery holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Louisiana State University and is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. His mother was murdered when he was a child and his brother is currently serving a life sentence for murder.

“My entire life story has prepared me to be the Chief of Police for GSUPD,” Demery said. “Some things you can learn in college, and some things you have to actually experience. And for me, I believe overcoming tragedy was preparation for my career. I experienced pain, so I can definitely empathize with people. I know police officers and what they need to be effective on the job. I’m a parent and I know what’s expected when you send your child off to college. I know exactly what they’re feeling.”

Albert Ernest, Assistant Chief of University Police

Albert Ernest started his more than 20 years of law enforcement career as a deputy with the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office in New Orleans. He served with the Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) Police Department for 19 years, rising through the ranks of police officer, sergeant, and lieutenant, working various patrol, investigative, and administrative assignments throughout the department and university prior to joining the GSUPD.

While serving at SUNO, Assistant Chief Ernest served as Professional Standards and Accreditation Manager, Clery Compliance Officer, Technology Specialist, Career Development Manager, Emergency Manager, Internal Affairs Manager, Grant Writer, and Records Manager.
“We are restructuring the GSUPD,” Gallot said. “We are excited that Assistant Chief Ernest brings a diverse campus security background unique to higher education institutions.”

Ernest attended Southern University at New Orleans, completing a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems in 2016 and a Master of Criminal Justice in 2019. He is also a Northwestern University Center for Public Safety Police Staff and Command graduate.

Ernest has received numerous awards and recognition for his outstanding service and excellence in Police Administration and has also received commendations for outstanding service and is a certified Active Shooter Instructor through the Louisiana State University National Center for Biomedical Research and Training and Risk Manager through the Gulf States Regional Center for Public Safety Innovations. Ernest also attended the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) National Law Enforcement Leadership Institute on Violence Against Women and currently holds a Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification.

He also holds further certifications in leadership, investigations, policy development, and emergency preparedness, and has secured funding for various community and campus safety initiatives from state and federal partners through grant writing.

“I strive to promote a community engagement style of leadership that emphasizes intelligent, partnership-oriented strategies involving university stakeholders and various members of the community and criminal justice system,” Ernest said.

Ernest is a member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), the International Association of Law Enforcement Planners (IALEP), the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) Communications Committee, and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

“I am confident in the new direction that GSUPD is headed,” Moses said. “Assistant Chief Ernest’s police experience and use of technology will advance GSUPD’s service overall to the faculty, students and staff to foster a safer and more secure campus environment.”