GRAMBLING, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Grambling State University says it is ramping up campus security with the hiring of Rod Demery as its new Chief of Police.

Demery is a retired Shreveport homicide detective and Navy veteran who went on to work as a special homicide investigator for the Caddo Parish District Attorney’s Office in homicide and conviction integrity and later hosted three seasons of “Investigation Discovery, Murder Chose Me,” a television series highlighting his law enforcement career. He previously served as Chief of Police with the City of Beaver Falls Police Department in Pennsylvania.

“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,” GSU said in a statement Friday announcing the hire.

The hire comes several months after a spate of violence on campus in late 2021 that included two separate shootings on campus during homecoming week that left two people dead and several others wounded. In December, the university proposed an $18 million security barrier be built around campus designed to protect students and reduce crime. The move prompted the City of Grambling to threaten to file suit.

“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 in the statement.

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

Demery recently completed filming a second television show where he is the 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.

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.

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. (Source: Grambling State University)

“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.”

GSU also on Friday named longtime Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Department deputy and Southern University of New Orleans police department lieutenant Albert Ernest as the university’s new Assistant Chief of Police.

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.

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