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George Rice, Jr. — Sentinel of Safety

Date: 8/22/2012

George Rice, Jr.
Executive Director, iCert, Washington, D.C.
Alvernia Class of 1985, B.A., Criminal Justice Administration 
Member of Alvernia’s board of trustees 
Has served as a drug enforcement agency agent and private investigator

George Rice, Jr. ’85 is a one-man worldwide web of public safety. He’s battled an international heroin ring, persuaded doctors to promote gun control, and even headed an agency that trained search-and-rescue dogs.

It’s a background that has well prepared him for his current role as Executive Director of the Industry Council for Emergency Response Technologies (iCert). As iCert’s top executive, a post he assumed in 2011, Rice has taken his one-man mission to improve public safety to the next level by working to enact government policies to help the cause. In February, diligence paid off when Congress legislated the inaugural interoperable wireless broadband network for first responders.

Now police officers can download photos of crime suspects before they arrive on the crime scene and ER surgeons can receive EMT information before they operate on accident victims, thanks to technology access made possible by the legislation. “First responders can have up-to-date, in-the-moment knowledge about important information, even the location of wiring in burning buildings,” says Rice.

“The amount of time saved and justice delivered will be just amazing.” Relieving systematic stress is part of Rice’s position as an information broker for iCert, a seven-year-old intermediary for public-safety companies, government emergency communicators and public policymakers. One of his quests is reducing the overload of national 911 calls, which have increased 37 percent since 1999.

Protecting people is in Rice’s blood. He was introduced to law enforcement by his father, who patrolled post-World War II Europe as a member of the U.S. Air Force Police. His natural curiosity about crime was nurtured by Alvernia instructor Tom Morakovicz, a Pennsylvania state trooper who impressed Rice with his “slow and steady” manner. Careful caution served Rice well as a licensed private investigator and as a special agent for the Drug Enforcement Agency battling the trafficking of heroin from Nigerian tribes.

Later, Rice worked to educate families about the risks of storing guns at home for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. In 1999, Rice became director of community safety for The Enterprise Foundation, where he helped to change East Palo Alto in California from the country’s per-capita murder capital to “quite a nice place to live.”

A natural networker, Rice wants to align his employer with his alma mater. He’s currently working with Alvernia teachers and administrators to produce public-safety research for iCert that could benefit municipalities and businesses. He is also looking for a few good men and women to widen his worldwide web — as his first Alvernia criminal justice interns.

  • History: Established as a private four-year liberal arts college in 1958, Alvernia celebrated its 50th year by being awarded university status in 2008.
  • Heritage: Founded by the Bernardine Sisters, a Catholic religious order, the university embraces the Franciscan core values of service, humility, collegiality, contemplation and peacemaking.
  • Motto: “To Learn, To Love, To Serve”
  • Campus: The main campus in Reading is 121 acres, with two satellite campuses in Philadelphia and Pottsville (Schuylkill County).
  • Location: Our residential campus is situated three miles from center-city Reading, in the scenic Blue Mountain area of Eastern Pennsylvania.
  • Enrollment: 3,000 students attend Alvernia including 1,500 traditional undergraduates, 600 continuing education students, and 780 graduate students. Over 77% of first-year students live on campus.
  • Faculty: Our professors are accomplished scholars, experts in their fields, and supportive mentors. The student-to-faculty ratio is 14:1. Most classes are 20 students or fewer.
  • Athletics: NCAA Division III, member of the Commonwealth Conference of the Middle Atlantic States Athletic Corporation and member of Eastern College Athletic Conference, 8 men’s and 10 women’s intercollegiate sports.