Spotlight on Campus Safety Hero Joshua Rondeno

This University of New Orleans corporal was able to subdue a subject who held a knife to the corporal’s throat and wanted to take his firearm.

Campus police officers face dangers just like their traditional law enforcement counterparts, and one prime example of this occurred on Jan. 8, 2015 at the University of New Orleans Police Department’s (UNOPD) headquarters.

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According to campus Police Chief and Assistant Vice President Thomas Harrington, UNOPD Corporal Joshua Rondeno was walking up the southeast stairwell of UNOPD headquarters carrying several items in his hands. As he walked onto the middle level landing of the stairwell, a man ran down the stairwell and in seconds grabbed Rondeno’s head and placed a knife to his throat. The subject told him not to move.

Rondeno instantly dropped the equipment he was carrying and was able to get the knife away from his neck and out of the hold the attacker had on him. Rondeno then retrieved his firearm at which time the man charged him. Rondeno was then forced to fire several rounds at the subject, who then dropped the knife, giving the officer time to place a radio call for help. Lt. Steven Day who was in the office responded within minutes, and he and Rondeno successfully placed the subject under arrest.

It was later determined that previously several officers throughout the day had spoken to the subject, asking him if he needed help. Additionally, Rondeno had just hours before the attack walked the subject to the library to help him obtain a parking decal.

Once apprehended, the subject stated he had been planning to ambush a UNOPD officer sometime during the day in an effort to obtain the officer’s firearm. The subject said he needed the firearm so he could use it to commit robberies, “because he did not have any money.” The subject pleaded guilty and is serving three years in prison.

A Medal of Merit was awarded to Rondeno by the UNOPD for taking appropriate actions when he was ambushed by a suspect, whose stated goal was to commit additional violent crimes in the community. His bravery and quick actions resulted in the arrest of a suspect who placed him in a positon that could have resulted in great bodily harm to himself and others.

Way to go Corporal Rondeno!

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About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray

Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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