North Texas Daily

UNT promotes veteran officer Ramona Washington to police chief

UNT promotes veteran officer Ramona Washington to police chief

UNT promotes veteran officer Ramona Washington to police chief
April 28
11:00 2023

University police captain Ramona Washington will be named police chief at the university starting June 1 after over 20 years in law enforcement at the university.

Washington has served several roles over the course of her career, including patrol officer and criminal investigator. She currently oversees the investigation division at the Sullivant Public Safety Center. Washington has also taught criminal justice classes at the university and North Central Texas College as an adjunct professor, a career choice she claims gives her the perfect perspective to lead a university police department.

“I feel like I can relate on many levels as an employee, as a student, as an instructor, and that connectedness is so important because when we are trying to see how our police department fits into our community, those perspectives are very important,” Washington said. “I circled back, I stayed here because to me, it’s always been a great place to work. I’ve always felt like it was my home.”

Washington admits that she hasn’t given the future of the department much

thought, as she still serves as investigations division captain, shadowing current Chief Ed Reynolds for the job of chief is more than a full-time job.

“If I’m being brutally honest, I’ve not had a chance to sit down and line out any goals, because I’m currently still serving in the captain’s position overseeing our criminal investigations, and I’m going to be working with Chief Reynolds in the next month as he prepares to retire,” Washington said.

As a police captain, Washington already plays an integral role as a leader within the department, an environment fellow officers have described as fun with an emphasis on seeking help when it is needed. Officers under Reynolds appreciated the jovial, family-like work environment, as a whole the department is supportive, and higher-ranking officers are eager to take rookie officers under their tutelage.

“She has seen me cry, smile, laugh, we have celebrated stuff together — it’s great,” Patrol Officer Maria Nieves said. “She’s amazing. I’m super happy because I know she has a good heart, she’s gonna do great. If anybody needs help, I know she will do it, her door is always open, absolutely, always.”

Among Washington’s list of priorities is officer safety and health, taking into consideration a holistic approach to how officers recover from their time in the field, and dealing with the litigious work of an officer.

“That’s not specifically talking about the fitness part of it, it’s making sure that they feel well when they come to work, ensuring that we are looking at every component of wellness and finding ways to where we can ensure that we’re taking care of our officers inside our agency,” Washington said. “We want them to be able to be well and be safe so that they can

go out there in the community and keep themselves and everyone else safe, but that they’re also strong enough to do the job,” Washington said.

Reynolds lead the university to become accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, a process only 30 percent of police departments in the nation have completed.

“We’ve been able to hire and promote a really talented group of dedicated employees, and I don’t mean just police officers, our dispatch staff, support staff, they all find meaning come to work at UNT,” Reynolds said. “This is a fun place to work, you can walk around the hallways here, and you hear laughter all the time. It’s not like it’s a stale place to be. I mean, if you asked me my biggest accomplishment, I think it’s being able to create a culture at the police department that’s healthy,”

Image Courtesy Gary Payne/UNT Photo

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