This year Mercyhurst University has welcomed 25 new faculty members, including Frank Rodriguez, Ph.D.
Rodriguez is a member of Mercyhurst’s Criminal Justice Department.
He currently teaches American Criminal Justice, but has taught Criminology and Police System and Procedures at other schools.
Rodriguez was born in the southern tip of Texas only five miles away from the Mexican border.
“When I look at the map, and see where I was born in the southern tip of Texas, I see that a lot of Mexico was north of me,” he said, “It’s very easy to see how different my life could have been.”
Rodriguez lived on the border for several years and saw the hardships that workers from Mexico experienced.
From a young age Rodriguez wanted to be a police officer, influenced by his uncle who was a member of the Edinburg Police Department.
“Growing up when I was three or four years old, I would see my uncle in his police uniform, and I would see him with his badge and his gun–to me he looked like a soldier.
And then he would come over with his police car, and he would turn on his siren and his horn and it was like Christmas,” Rodriguez said.
After high school, Rodriguez went on to get his undergraduate in criminal justice and went into the police academy at age 21.
Rodriguez is a former police officer of Pegresso Police Department in Pegresso, Tex.
He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas Pan America, and earned his master’s and doctorate degree from Prairie View A&M University.
During this time he received his doctorate in criminal justice with a specialization in juvenile justice.
After receiving his degrees he went on to teach at University of Texas Pan-American, Prairie View A&M University and the University of Houston Downtown.
He has taught almost every age group: bilingual kindergarten classes, middle school, high school and at the collegiate level. He has also coached baseball for a juvenile home and for a high school varsity team.
Rodriguez quit the police department, realizing that the work was just not for him.
He disliked having to work such a stressful job, and dealt with some very gruesome situations.
“It takes a very special kind of person to be a police officer,” Rodriguez said.
After leaving the force, Rodriguez moved to California to live with his sister and while living there his younger brother died.
His brother had been working all day in the hot Texan summer and had been out drinking, which left him dehydrated.
His brother then got into trouble with the police and was maced and tazed by the officer, shutting down his liver.
This incident led Rodriguez to get his master’s and Ph.D. so he could teach at the collegiate level and educate the people who would be in these situations.
“I love this campus. I fell in love with this campus the first time I walked on to it,” said Rodriguez.
He added that he views his coworkers as “a family away from the family.”