Joe Rios joined Norwalk Public Schools in 2016 as the district school safety coordinator from the Newtown Police Department, where he retired after 26 years of service. Rios oversees school safety and preparedness for NPS, and represents the superintendent at suspension and expulsion hearings. He is involved in district emergency operations planning and serves as a liaison for NPS with city's emergency service agencies. Additionally, Rios supervises the training for NPS students, faculty and staff on school safety preparedness matters.
During his tenure at NPS, Rios has helped implement several significant security upgrades. These include adding security guards to cover every school, centralized surveillance equipment, digital cameras and a visitor management system called Raptor. Raptor is a web based software system utilized at all schools that provides an effective, consistent system for tracking visitors in and out of the building and during emergencies. All visitors to Norwalk Public Schools are required to provide an official ID before entering.
Rios rose through the ranks of the Newtown Police Department, having started his career as a patrol officer. He then moved on to act as the department's first school resource officer in the 90s and was a DARE instructor. Rios rose to the rank of Captain, second-in-command within the department in 2000. Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in December 2012, Captain Rios worked closely with the Newtown Public Schools in support of school safety and emergency planning.
Rios attended and graduated from the FBI National Academy 221 session in Quantico, VA. He is a graduate of Norwich University and hold a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. He has been a guest speaker at numerous law enforcement and school conferences speaking on such topics as active shooter response and the aftermath.