New sergeant brings diverse background, perspectives to URI Police Department

Heavily involved with community policing efforts

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862 |
Raul Douglas
Raul Douglas, who was recently promoted URI Police sergeant, stands next to a cruiser outside the police station. URI photo by Nora Lewis.

KINGSTON, R.I. — April 2,  2021– If you were thinking about a great candidate for the police force at a university with students, faculty and staff from all of the world, you couldn’t do much better than Raul Douglas.

Douglas, who has been with the URI Police Department for six years, was born in Guyana, and is African American, East Indian, Irish and Scottish.

“I believe my background and personal experiences, including being born in and spending my early childhood in South America gives me a unique perspective and enables me to connect with students from diverse backgrounds,” said Douglas, who was recently promoted to sergeant. “Those connections hopefully allow me to build trust and relationships with our diverse URI community to expand and strengthen our community policing efforts.” stated Douglas.

URI Police Maj. Michael Jagoda, right, congratulates newly promoted sergeant, Raul Douglas. URI photo by Nora Lewis.
URI Police Maj. Michael Jagoda, right, congratulates newly promoted sergeant, Raul Douglas. URI photo by Nora Lewis.

Douglas grew up in Rhode Island where he lived in multiple and diverse communities. He spent the majority of his childhood in Cranston, but also lived in Central Falls and Providence. He graduated from Cranston High School East where he played basketball. After graduating, he began working at Ricoh, a printer services company where he was a field service representative.

He was at Ricoh for about three years, first as a field representative who traveled to different work sites and then as an on-site specialist in Woonsocket.

“Both positions involved a lot of customer service and creative problem-solving and troubleshooting, which are skills that I definitely use in my role as a police officer,” Douglas said  “I thoroughly enjoyed this job, but knew eventually I would have to grow.”

He went to Briarwood College for one year where he played basketball. Although he had to leave due to financial issues, he continued his education at the Community College of Rhode Island where he received an associate’s degree in general studies in May 2014.

After graduating, Douglas applied to what he thought was a security guard position at URI. He later realized that he applied for a position as a police officer and successfully completed the 22-week Rhode Island Municipal Police Training Academy.

“I’m very happy with the way things turned out,” he said  “After I earned my degree, I was looking for a growth opportunity in a field where I could establish a career.  While I may not have understood the full scope of the position initially, I was very interested in working in higher education.  After learning more about the position through the recruitment process, I felt like the job would challenge me in new and exciting ways and I would be a good fit for what URI was looking for in a University Police Officer,” Douglas said.

During his time at URI he has been extremely involved in the community, including  community policing events, community outreach and the police force dodgeball tournament every year.

“One aspect I enjoy is interacting with our community members,” Douglas said. “Whether attending community events or walking around campus, I always try to gain a different perspective from everyone I meet.  I also enjoy utilizing our technological resources during the course of my work.  I have a background and interest in information technology and those skills have come in handy in many cases.”

URI Police Major. Michael Jagoda said, “In his new leadership role, Sgt. Douglas, will mentor and serve as a role model for our officers. He also serves as an ambassador for our entire department and is dedicated to the values and principles of community policing and in partnering with our diverse stakeholders daily.  Sgt. Douglas is always continuing to improve his skill set, his learning and his education.”

Gianna Cardarelli, an intern in URI’s Department of Marketing and Communications and a public relations major, wrote this press release.