With a strong frame and a commanding handshake, University of Miami Chief of Police David A. Rivero could intimidate anyone – until he smiles.
Since December, UMPD has allowed students to have lunch with Rivero anywhere on campus, his treat. The catch is that students must bring to the table one way UMPD can improve. This opportunity is separate from Rivero’s own efforts to make UMPD more community oriented, he said.
Rivero’s overall goal is to get to know the students.
“I just like talking to kids and students,” he said. “I can give them some good ideas.”
Students have also proven to give good ideas. About 10 students have dined with Rivero and changes have been made as a result.
One student supplied handouts and endorsed a company that specializes in anti-terrorism training, Rivero said. Since that meeting, UMPD has hired the company to train their officers.
Another student suggested that since campus parking lots aren’t patrolled on the weekends the meter parking spaces shouldn’t be either. Rivero took this idea and relayed it to Parking and Transportation Services.
Rivero has also contacted a student to have lunch with him. Freshman Justin Antweil wrote an opinion piece for The Miami Hurricane that claimed students should be allowed to rush the field at the last game in the Orange Bowl. Rivero found Antweil’s writing appealing and asked him to lunch.
“He was a really nice guy, really down-to-earth,” Antweil said. “If you have an issue at stake, I would definitely recommend having lunch with him.”
Of the topics raised by students who dined with the Rivero, the most common was parking. Sophomore Jessica Punchatz said she would consider having lunch with Rivero and would suggest an increased amount of security patrols.
“There are always improvements that can be made and I didn’t even know that [having lunch with Rivero]was an option,” she said.
Rivero believes that with every student he meets he is making one more person feel safer.
“If I can explain to a girl to not pick up a drink after she puts it down and that prevents a date rape; if that just saves one, I’ve done my job,” he said.
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Rivero has been UM chief of police for about a year and half. He came to the university after working for the city of Miami police department for 26 years. His efforts at the university have been recognized – he recently received the Director of the Year award for education in Campus Safety magazine.
To know: To request lunch with the chief, email your name, C-number, preferred email address, phone number and date, time and location for lunch to firstname.lastname@example.org.