UC Merced’s police chief is leaving for a job at UC Riverside after just a year in Merced, according to campus officials.
Michael Reese, vice chancellor for business and administrative services, said Albert Vasquez is headed to Riverside to serve beginning Sept. 12 as the executive director of enterprise risk management.
Vasquez, who has more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement and public safety, took on the dual role of chief and assistant vice chancellor of public safety at UC Merced on Aug. 17, 2015. He was paid at a rate of $197,000 a year, campus officials said.
Vasquez’s time in charge of security at UC Merced was marked by the Nov. 4 stabbing that rocked the campus and Merced community. A UC Merced police officer that day shot and killed Faisal Mohammad, the 18-year-old freshman student who stabbed four people during the attack on campus, according to law enforcement officials.
Reese said Vasquez provided “strong and steady leadership during a critical and frightening time.”
It has been a pleasure working with Al (Vasquez) this year, and I wish him well as he enters the next stage of his career.
Michael Reese, vice chancellor for business and administrative services
After the attack, he worked with Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, to secure more than $1 million for public safety equipment for the campus. Vasquez also reduced worker’s compensation loss days, saving the campus more than $100,000, according to Reese.
Vasquez also helped pull down a grant for the purchase of electric police vehicles, Reese said. “It has been a pleasure working with Al this year, and I wish him well as he enters the next stage of his career,” he said in an email.
Vasquez came to Merced after five years as chief at Santa Monica College. He replaced Rita Spaur, the university’s first chief, who retired last year after 10 years in the position.
Reese said he is weighing several options for the next chief, including bringing back to campus James Wright, assistant vice president of environmental health and safety, of the University of Texas, who was a finalist in the last search.
If the university does not hire a new chief before Vasquez leaves, according to spokesman James Leonard, Lt. Chou Her will head up the department.