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Johnny C. Whitehead

Johnny C. Whitehead


Johnny C. Whitehead has more than 30 years of municipal and campus policing experience, serving communities in Maryland, Massachusetts and Texas. From 2012 to 2017 Johnny served as Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety at the Rice University Police Department. He was responsible for police services, emergency medical services, parking enforcement, electronic access control, identification and administration of the campus’ security camera use policy.

Johnny is credited with reforming the Rice University Police Department, improving training, upgrading technology and updating the department’s policies, procedures and operations through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) process. During his tenure with Rice University Johnny developed a reputation, on and off campus, for cultivating key stakeholder relationships and fostering trust. He engaged the Rice community in social justice issues by participating on panels and forums with faculty members and students. Johnny created and taught an accredited undergraduate course for Rice students entitled Policing & Trust.

Prior to joining the Rice University Police Department Johnny served as Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, one of the largest residential universities in the country. Johnny led the police department through the state accreditation process achieving full accreditation by the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission and national accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, CALEA.

Johnny began his career with the Baltimore Police Department in 1976. After three years with the Baltimore Police Department, he joined the Baltimore County Police Department. During his tenure with Baltimore County Police, he rose through the ranks serving as a police officer, corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, major and colonel. 

Johnny retired from the Baltimore County Police Department in 1997 to accept the position of Director of Operations for the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration; he managed the agency’s 25 branch offices and 19 vehicle emissions inspection stations. From 2001 to 2003 he served as Senior Policy Advisor on Public Safety for the Lieutenant Governor of Maryland.

Johnny holds a Master of Science in Applied Behavioral Science from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from the University of Baltimore. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, a member of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA), the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).

Johnny is married to Dr. Kim Whitehead, a retired area superintendent with the Baltimore County School System. Their son, Joshua, is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst.


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