Rodney Jacobs ’12
Assistant Director, City of Miami Civilian Investigative Panel
Political Science Major
Hiram—with its challenging curriculum and leadership opportunities—not only helped Rodney Jacobs ’12 get his first job but also helped him develop the resilience and grit for the jobs that would follow.
Jacobs began his journey at Hiram with a desire to go to law school. In the sixth grade, he came to see America as a society built on the rule of law, and he wanted to understand those rules. So, as he got older, it became clear that a liberal arts education would help him understand the way the world worked and prepare him for law school at the same time.
After graduating from law school at the University of Dayton, Jacobs trained for the U.S. Army Reserves and became a military intelligence officer. He then returned to his home state of Florida to be closer to friends and family, and to pursue work in police oversight. Today, he is the assistant director for the City of Miami Civilian Investigative Panel. In this position, he investigates abusive police practices and strives to bring a spirit of collaboration to community relations and policing initiatives.
Jacobs believes that the power of the liberal arts education he received at Hiram is reflected in the critical thinking skills he developed across disciplines. With a desire to explore and improve police issues, Jacobs knew that he needed to draw from experts, scholars, and practitioners outside of law and criminal justice. Even though the realization came quickly and naturally, he found it was not a common approach. Oftentimes in policing, enforcement officials think that a law must be changed, or an issue should be resolved in a courtroom. However, Jacobs sees problems that may be better solved by public health professionals, social scientists, and others who understand the underlying rather than surfacing issues. His experiences led him to pursue master’s degrees at the University of Miami in both Public Administration and Public Health. It was his liberal arts education at Hiram, though, that helped prepare him for all his experiences and gave him the tools to explore and mitigate the foundational issues.