GW Names New Police Chief

James Tate has more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement. He will start on Jan. 21.

January 7, 2020

James Tate

New GW Police Chief James Tate.

The George Washington University Division of Safety and Security has hired James Tate as the next chief of GW Police.

Mr. Tate has more than three decades of experience in law enforcement. He comes to GW from Rice University in Houston, where he also served as chief of police. He starts Jan. 21.

Mr. Tate said he is  “thrilled” about the opportunity to serve the GW community.

“I’m excited to join the workforce at GW and really look forward to meeting the university’s goals and the department goals while I’m there,” he said.

Scott Burnotes, associate vice president for safety and security, said he’s confident Mr. Tate will be a successful leader for GWPD.

“The search committee quickly recognized that Chief Tate had the right skills and level of experience to take GWPD to the next level,” Mr. Burnotes said. “He is a proven leader in higher education law enforcement who has successfully engaged with students, faculty and staff to create safe and secure campus environments.” 

Mr. Tate started his career in 1988 with the Jonesboro, Ark., police department where he served as a patrol officer, D.A.R.E. officer and a SWAT team member. He was later called to active duty in the National Guard and served 21 years in various leadership positions, including Military Police Battalion Commander and Lieutenant Colonel.

After his Army service, Mr. Tate re-entered law enforcement and began his higher education career in 2011 as a police officer with the University of Arkansas Police Department in Fayetteville. He later became the assistant chief of police at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, and then the chief of police at the University of St. Thomas in Houston.

Mr. Tate said he enjoys working with university police because it presents an opportunity to be part of students’ experience.

“As police officers, we can have an impact in a positive way on how their education process goes, how the environment is for them on campus,” he said. “If you’re working for a municipality or for a county, you don’t get to develop that sort of community policing relationship, and I think that’s what I like about it the most.

Mr. Burnotes said he also wanted to thank interim Chief Mary Paradis "for her support and guidance throughout these transitions at GWPD.”

“I am thrilled that she will remain a close partner through the Consortium of Universities and continue to be a resource for the university as she starts her next adventure as the assistant vice president of safety and security at Marymount University," he said.