ODU Police Department Celebrates 50 Years in Service


ODU President Brian Hemphill with ODUPD, Photo by Victoria Tillinghast

By Victoria Tillinghast, News Editor

Originally published August 15, 2021.


The Old Dominion University Police Department (ODUPD) hosted a 50th Anniversary Celebration on Aug. 6 at the S.B. Ballard Stadium. The ODUPD was established in 1971 and consists of 58 sworn and civilian personnel, 12 of which are either currently enrolled in courses at ODU or ODU alumni. ODUPD is currently led by Chief of Police Rhonda L. Harris, whom the university accredits a decrease in overall crime by 35 percent, thanks to her initiatives. The event recognized the department’s history, progression, and recent achievements such as the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement (IACLEA) accreditation and the Commission of Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) the department received.


In a pre-recorded video statement, the Norfolk Chief of Police, Larry D. Boone, reflected on the importance of partnership between the two departments and the adversity that they expect to overcome in the future.


“We face an environment of instability due to pandemic concerns and social unrest. Both police departments recognize more so now than ever a need to continue to strengthen our resilience in the communities we serve.”


During the celebration’s finale, Bayside Harley Davidson Chief Financial Officer Scarlet Floyd presented a donated Harley Davidson Police Edition Electric Glide motorcycle to the department—the second bike Bayside Harley Davidson has donated.

Police Edition Electric Glide motorcycle, Photo by Victoria Tillinghast

“This institution does so much for the community,” Floyd announced, “providing graduates in areas of business, engineering, arts, and many more.” Floyd shared that she herself is an ODU alumna who graduated in 2000.


Congressman Bobby Scott, Congresswoman Elaine Luria, and ODU president Brian Hemphill were also in attendance, taking the time to thank the police department for their service.


“We’ve been talking about strategy in terms of higher education and whether the college experience should be geared 100 percent towards job training or whether there is something special about a four-year college experience that transforms a student—where most of the transformation takes place outside the classroom.” Said Congressman Scott to those in attendance, “I happen to believe [the latter] is the model. The college experience is transformational, and I believe the police are part of that transformation. You make the experience better.”