ETSU chief of police recognized nationally

Published 3:35 pm Wednesday, July 19, 2023

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JOHNSON CITY – At a conference in Las Vegas this month, East Tennessee State University’s Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety Cesar Gracia earned a special recognition as a finalist for Campus Safety Director of the Year, hosted by Campus Safety Magazine.

It’s a prestigious, national honor.

But Gracia doesn’t want the credit.

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“Our officers work 12-hour shifts and not only respond to calls of service, but they also provide foot patrols and engage our campus community in an effort to maintain a safe living and learning environment,” he said. “Our dispatchers are also dedicated to our campus community by providing assistance 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.”

Gracia arrived at ETSU in late 2020. Prior to that, he served for five years as dean of campus safety and chief of police at Lincoln Memorial University. He provided leadership, direction and management for the police and security department and its programs, services and activities at LMU.

A graduate of the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Training Academy, he holds a B.A. in criminal justice and a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies with a concentration in criminal justice, both from ETSU. 

His career also includes four years with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and seven years with the Kingsport Police Department.

“Our officers have really been dedicated to our community policing concepts; they are truly dedicated to assuring everyone’s safety while on campus. They provide battery boosts, assist with changing tires and assist when students, faculty and staff lock themselves out of their vehicles,” he said. “In an effort to build community trust, there are many duties that are not directly related to law enforcement that our officers willingly do so that the campus community feels safe and appreciated.”