Orange Pride: Rodney Huey
OSU-Tulsa Police Officer Rodney Huey is a relatively new addition to the campus, only starting the job a couple years ago – but his kindness and professionalism has been noticed and appreciated by students, faculty, staff and those just passing through OSU-Tulsa.
“My number one priority is the safety of the people that are on campus, no matter who they are,” Huey said.
Huey’s level head and warm heart in his duties at OSU-Tulsa have earned him the Orange Pride Award for Employee Excellence. The award is presented to a member of the OSU-Tulsa staff who demonstrates outstanding customer service skills and efforts above and beyond their normal job duties.
A Force For Good
Huey grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, where he was connected to higher education early because of his father’s career as a dean at Arizona State University. Huey was always interested in law enforcement, even joining a police explorer program in high school.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do since I was a kid,” Huey said.
After serving in the army for nine years, he knew law enforcement was the next best step for him. He completed some college credit hours in Texas but wound up in Tulsa and started a family.
Huey started working at Tulsa International Airport’s police department, then worked for the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, and worked security at University of Tulsa before starting his current role with OSU Police.
For Huey, the attraction to law enforcement is being around people and helping them solve their problems.
“It’s an opportunity to help and assist people,” Huey said. “Even if that means someone has to go to jail, that often is assistance. A couple nights in jail can wake up a lot of people up to say ‘hey wait a minute, I need to change my path.’”
Most encounters don’t end in jail time. In his role as a police officer, Huey is always looking for a peaceful resolution. His first priority is to keep everyone on campus safe, whether they are students, employees or just passing through.
“Communication is important. And not mine, theirs,” Huey said. “I allow people to tell me what’s going on. I don’t go in there thinking I’ve got this all figured out, because when you do that, you’ll find out you’re wrong.”
OSU-Tulsa is a place to learn and grow, and Huey is a vital part of maintaining and encouraging that.
“I don’t punish. I’m not a punisher, that’s not my job,” he said. “Even if it’s a bad encounter because the other individual chooses for it to be a bad encounter, I hope I plant a seed of hope for them in the future.”
Meet People Where They Are
The other major roles in Huey’s life are core to who he is in his work at OSU-Tulsa. In addition to a dad and a police officer, Huey is also a youth pastor. In all these roles, he sees himself as someone who listens and who offers help.
As a youth pastor, he has been able to use his police training to help those who need it. On one occasion after a church event, he connected a young girl with suicidal ideations to state services, possibly saving her life.
“I can't separate the God side of me from the other side of me. That’s who I am.”
During his day-to-day work, Huey knows a small gesture can make the day a little easier for everyone he interacts with at OSU-Tulsa, whether giving a joke to a student, a smile to a staff member or a water bottle to campus visitors seeking shade in the summer.
“We have such a variety of individuals that come here,” Huey said. “People come to campus with such varying backgrounds and such different of expectations of what their experience that day will be, so you always need to meet people where they are.”
Huey says he is honored to be nominated for the Orange Pride Award for Employee Excellence and was touched by the kind words written in the presentation of the award.
The nomination letter described Huey as a professional who keeps calm and asks questions before assuming the worst. It goes on to say, “because Officer Huey has a positive attitude and uses a non-judgmental approach when interacting with the public, it allows him to build mutual trust and respect and in turn deescalate situations.”
“The nomination was so eloquently written that it touched me to hear someone actually put down that, that's the way that they see me,” Huey said.
The nomination letter ends by mentioning that his professionalism and dedication are unmatched and are a shining example of what community policing can and should be at OSU-Tulsa.
“This isn’t just another checkmark on the wall,” Huey said. “It’s a pretty cool deal for me and I’m very moved by it.”
To recommend an OSU-Tulsa staff member for the Orange Pride award, complete a nomination form. Orange Pride recipients are selected quarterly and receive a framed certificate and $100.
Media Contact: Aaron Campbell | 918-594-8046 | email@example.com