A veteran law enforcement professional with nearly 25 years at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville is the new chief of police at Mississippi State.
M. Vance Rice's appointment is pending formal approval by the Board of Trustees, State Institutions of Higher Learning. University officials said Rice is expected to begin work July 16.
Rice has served in the police department at the Fayetteville institution since becoming a law officer in 1989. He was promoted over the years to patrol sergeant, training and career development lieutenant, criminal investigation department lieutenant, and patrol and criminal investigation department lieutenant.
Since last year, he has served as police services captain, with responsibilities for all patrol and criminal investigations within the UA system.
Rice holds two UA degrees, including a bachelor's in human resource development and master's in operations management.
Rice said he is "humbled and honored by my selection to serve as the next police chief for the Mississippi State University Police Department, adding that he is "looking forward to listening to the students, staff, and faculty on issues important to them and working collaboratively."
In addition to academic degrees, Rice graduated in 2004 from the FBI National Academy and in 2008 from the Arkansas School of Law Enforcement Supervision. He also completed the Arkansas Leader, Criminal Justice Institute in 2012.
Bill Kibler, vice president for student affairs, said the safety and security of the campus community are among of MSU's highest priorities. "Our exceptional and nationally accredited police department is a critical component in assuring the safety of our campus," he added.
Kibler said Rice "brings extensive experience and outstanding leadership abilities to our police department" and "will be able to lead us to even higher levels of professionalism, performance and innovation."
Dean of Students Thomas Bourgeois joined Kibler in welcoming Rice to the university and Division of Student Affairs.
Bourgeois, to whom the police chief directly reports, said community engagement is a major mission of the department and Rice's experience at Arkansas' largest university should integrate well in this area on the Starkville campus.
In April, Mississippi State officials announced that the assistant police chief at Purdue University was accepting the university's offer to become the next police chief. A short time later, Tim Potts notified the institution he would be unable to follow through on the commitment "for personal reasons."
For more about the police department, visit www.police.msstate.edu .
Complete information about Mississippi State University, see www.msstate.edu.