URI: New sergeant brings diverse background, perspectives to campus police


Courtesy of the University of Rhode Island

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — If you attend the University of Rhode Island (URI), you should expect to see a new campus police sergeant around.

Raul Douglas, who has been with the campus police department for six years, was born in Guyana, and is African American, East Indian, Irish and Scottish.

“I believe my background and personal experiences, including being born in and spending my early childhood in South America gives me a unique perspective and enables me to connect with students from diverse backgrounds,” Douglas said.

“Those connections hopefully allow me to build trust and relationships with our diverse URI community to expand and strengthen our community policing efforts,” he continued.

According to URI, Douglas grew up in Rhode Island. He spent most of his childhood in Cranston but also lived in Central Falls and Providence.

Douglas graduated from Cranston High School East where he played basketball.

Following graduation, he worked at Ricoh, a printing services company, for three years where he was a field representative traveling to different work sites, and then as an on-site specialist in Woonsocket.

“Both positions involved a lot of customer service and creative problem-solving and troubleshooting, which are skills that I definitely use in my role as a police officer,” Douglas said.

Douglas went to Briarwood College for one year where he had basketball before leaving due to financial issues. He continued his education at the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) where he received an associate’s degree in general studies in 2014.

After he applied to what he thought was a security guard position at URI, he realized he actually applied for a police officer position. He then successfully completed the 22-week Rhode Island Municipal Police Training Academy.

“I’m very happy with the way things turned out,” Douglas said. “After I earned my degree, I was looking for a growth opportunity in a field where I could establish a career. While I may not have understood the full scope of the position initially, I was very interested in working in higher education.”

“After learning more about the position through the recruitment process, I felt like the job would challenge me in new and exciting ways and I would be a good fit for what URI was looking for in a University Police Officer,” he continued.

Douglas has been very involved in the community during his time at URI including policing events, community outreach, and the police force dodgeball tournament every year.

 “One aspect I enjoy is interacting with our community members,” Douglas said. “Whether attending community events or walking around campus, I always try to gain a different perspective from everyone I meet.”

“I also enjoy utilizing our technological resources during the course of my work. I have a background and interest in information technology and those skills have come in handy in many cases,” he added.

URI Police Major Michael Jagoda said Douglas will mentor and serve as a role model for the other officers in his new leadership role.

“He also serves as an ambassador for our entire department and is dedicated to the values and principles of community policing and in partnering with our diverse stakeholders daily,” Jagoda said. “Sgt. Douglas is always continuing to improve his skill set, his learning, and his education.”

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