GSU police chief uses experience to help community

By April Clark Honaker 

Over the summer, Grambling State University welcomed new Chief of Police Rodney Demery to its campus. Demery is retired from the Shreveport Police Department where he had a stellar career as a homicide detective.  

In fact, while serving in Shreveport, Demery solved 100% of his cases, earning him a hit TV show on the Investigation Discovery Channel called “Murder Chose Me,” which reenacts those cases, along with narration and commentary from Demery. Murder is part of Demery’s personal history and helped shaped the man he’s become and the path he’s taken. 

“I’m a spiritual guy,” he said. “I believe God predestines you to do whatever you need to do.”  

Humbled by the experience of “Murder Chose Me,” Demery said he has since been working on another show scheduled to air in the coming months that re-investigates ancient murder mysteries using modern forensic science. “It makes for some really compelling TV,” said Demery. 

In addition to garnering worldwide recognition for his roles in these shows, Demery has written two best-selling books. “Things My Daughters Need to Know: A Cop and Father’s View of Sex, Relationships and Happiness” is a message that Demery wrote to his own daughters. It describes the many pitfalls of dating and red flags to look for. “It’s raw and unfiltered,” Demery said, and told as only a police officer could tell it.  

Demery’s second book is called “No Place for Race: Why We Need to Address Economic and Social Factors That Are Crushing Us Every Day.” Demery said it focuses on not politicizing tragedy and getting past all the things that people tend to focus on when it comes to tragedy. “A tragedy is a tragedy,” Demery said. Grief is the same across the board. “We need to not let politics dictate how we treat each other,” he said.  

Regarding his new position as Chief of Police at GSU, Demery said, “I wasn’t quite ready to retire. I thought I could help and lend some experience, whether from my law enforcement experience or the travel I’ve done.”  

Demery is confident that the network and connections he’s built throughout his career can support law enforcement efforts at GSU.  

Since starting at GSU, Demery has found himself connecting with students in unexpected and sometimes heart-wrenching ways, especially when they know him through a tragedy or loss that they or someone they love experienced. “It’s like I’ve come full circle,” Demery said, “almost like I’ve never left Shreveport.”    

For Demery, it’s important to understand the background of these students and how they can successfully transition from the places they come from, through higher education, and into the professional world. “It’s our responsibility to make sure that happens,” Demery said. 

Knowing the impact that trauma and tragedy can have on a young person is important to Demery. “We have to have an approach to deal with those things,” Demery said, “not only so they can get an education but also so they can shed some of those fears.”  

Of his role as Chief of Police, Demery said, “I feel like it’s all part of a divine plan.”