Meet the Command Staff

Read the bio for Deputy Chief Benavidez   

Read the bio for Commander Rene Lino    

Read the bio for Commander Yolanda Abundiz

Read the bio for Commander Gabriel Kearney   

Read the bio for Emanuel Campos, Director of Parking & Transportation   

Read the bio for Nelson Cox, Emergency Manager

Read the bio for Catarino (Tony) Arias, Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community Outreach

Chief Alfredo B. Fernandez assumed the position of Chief in August, 2021, following a near two-year appointment as Deputy Chief. Chief Fernandez’ major accomplishments since joining the department in 1998 include assisting with the development of the CSUN’s first police canine unit and the acquisition and outfitting of the department’s 30’ mobile EOC trailer.  The Chief was also the architect of the Department’s Multi-Agency Active Shooter Drill which brings police agencies from throughout the region and local Fire to the campus to practice cooperative responses to such emergencies.  As a Captain and later as the Deputy Chief, he ran every operational division in the Department including Patrol, Investigations and Parking & Transportation.

In his thirty-five years in law enforcement, he has held all police ranks including Police Officer, Detective Corporal, Lieutenant, Captain and Deputy Chief with Cal State Northridge and was previously a Patrol Sergeant with the Channel Islands campus. His previous experience includes working as a police corporal and field training officers with the Los Angeles Community College District and working as a mounted police officer with the County of Los Angeles. Fernandez earned his Associate of Science degree in Administration of Justice and holds a Peace Officer Standard and Training (POST) advanced certificate as well as certifications in Police Management, and Police Canine Management. He is a graduate of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) Executive Development Institute.

Chief Fernandez’ major goal for the Department is to implement responsible police reform to the Department that includes the application of a Mental Health Response Team in partnership with University Counseling Services and implementation of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion component within the Department of Police Services.

Deputy Chief Mark Benavidez has proudly served the California State University, Northridge campus community since 2002. Mark has held many positions throughout the department during his twenty-year career at CSUN to include parking enforcement officer, police officer, detective corporal, detective sergeant, patrol operations lieutenant, and patrol operations captain. Mark began his law enforcement career at 16 years old as a police explorer for his hometown police department in Sheridan, Colorado.

Mark has excelled in the field of threat assessment investigation and mental health response. He has shared his expertise and experience in these fields with other investigators and school campus administrators as a guest presenter at the FBI Threat Management Conference at Loyola Marymount University. Mark was the keynote speaker at the Joint Regional Intelligence Center School Threat Symposium where he talked about his experience responding to his daughter’s active shooter incident at Saugus High School.

Deputy Chief Benavidez earned his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology from the University of Colorado, Denver, and his master’s degree in Emergency Management and Homeland Security from the Arizona State University. Mark holds Advanced, Supervisory, and Management POST certifications, and is a graduate of IACLEA’s Executive Development Institute. 

Commander Rene Lino has served the California State University Northridge Police Department since 2008 and currently oversees the Investigations Unit.

Commander Lino’s experience is in Patrol Operations and Investigations. Commander Lino was promoted to Lieutenant of Patrol Operations in 2018. Before his promotion to Lieutenant in 2018, he served as a Sergeant in Investigations overseeing criminal investigations and handling threat assessments. Before his promotion to Sergeant in 2014, he worked patrol and the following collateral assignments: Crime Scene Investigator, Field Training Officer, and Community Policing Team. Before joining the CSUN Police Department, he served as a Sergeant at Pepperdine University’s Department of Public Safety in Malibu, California. Before Pepperdine University, he served as a Custody Deputy with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department in Santa Barbara, California.

Commander Lino is a graduate of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators Executive Development Institute and holds the following certifications: California Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Robert Presley Institute for Criminal Investigations specializing in Sexual Assault investigations; POST Supervisory and POST Management courses; Lieutenant Lino is a graduate of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Academy.

During his tenure at CSUN, Commander Lino has achieved several citations for excellence in policing; including the Police Chief’s Award for Outstanding Performance (2011); Police Officer of the Year Award (2012 and 2013) and is a co-recipient of CSUN’s Jolene Koester Team Award - for his exemplary work in Community Policing.

Commander Yolanda C. Abundiz is a homegrown CSUN alumnus who currently serves the campus community as the Patrol Operations Lieutenant.

In 1996, Yolanda was hired as a student assistant for the CSUN Foundation as an analyst, processing donations reports. In March 1997, she moved to a permanent full-time position as the administrative assistant to the Chief of Police for the Police Department. In 2001, she attended and successfully completed the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Academy. She served as a Police Officer until April 2006, when she promoted to Sergeant. In September 2021, Yolanda was appointed Patrol Operation Lieutenant, after successfully completing a process.

Yolanda is a proud CSUN graduate she received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and her Master of Arts in Educational Administration. Yolanda has advanced officer training in sexual assault investigations, crime scene investigations, and threat assessments. Yolanda is also an NRA firearms Instructor (handgun, shotgun, and patrol rifle), first aid & CPR Instructor and is a certified Title IX Investigator.

Yolanda was one of the first Rape Aggression Defense (RAD for women) instructors and she is the first department lead instructor for Active Shooter Survival Escape Response Training (ASSERT). She has conducted numerous trainings for students, faculty, and staff to assist them in personal protection and what to do in an active assailant situation.

Yolanda enjoys being part of the campus CSUN community and has been able to foster life-long friendships with faculty, students, and staff.


Commander Gabriel (Gabe) Kearney comes to CSUN Police after a distinguished 25-year career with Los Angeles Police Department. Commander Kearney retired at the rank of Sergeant II, and worked in various roles which included bicycle patrol, Detectives, Gang Unit, Vice Unit , and Internal Affairs and Training Divisions. He is a POST certified academy instructor, firearms instructor and was the officer in charge of the LAPD Leadership Program taught in conjunction with the United States Military Academy at WestPoint. Commander Kearney has a B.S. in Biomechanics from Occidental College.

Emanuel Campos accepted the position of Director of Parking & Transportation February 2022 after serving as the interim Parking & Transportation Manager at CSUN for almost two years. Emanuel has over twelve years of parking management experience which includes restaurant parking, airport parking, hotel parking, and University Parking and Transportation. A native Californian, Emanuel holds a B.A. from California State University Northridge. Emanuel is a strong advocate for student success. Having a positive impact, respect for all people, and delivering a quality customer service experience.

Emanuel was instrumental in the day-to-day operations for the Cal State Northridge COVID-19 Vaccination site also known as MegaPOD 3. He is currently working on a sustainability effort to finalize License Plate Recognition for campus parking permits. This will change the campus from a “physical parking permit” campus to a “virtual parking permit” campus using the license plate number of the vehicle.

Nelson Cox is a dedicated and seasoned emergency manager with a diverse career background that uniquely positions him as a leader in his field. Over the last 12 years, Nelson has honed his skills specializing in the critical areas of emergency management and business continuity. His expertise has been instrumental in ensuring the safety and resilience of various institutions of higher education, such as the University of North Carolina and the California State University system, as well as government entities including the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management, County of San Jose, and the Texas Department of Emergency Management.

Nelson holds a Bachelor's degree in Chicano Studies from Cal State Northridge, which speaks to his dedication to understanding and serving diverse communities. Additionally, he has earned a Master's Certificate in Emergency Management & Homeland Security from the University of California Los Angeles, solidifying his academic foundation in the field. This combination of hands-on experience and academic excellence makes Nelson an invaluable asset in navigating complex emergency situations and ensuring the continuity of operations for the organizations he serves.

Nelson Cox's career trajectory reflects his unwavering commitment to safeguarding communities and organizations in the face of emergencies and disasters. His expertise, forged through years of experience and supported by a strong educational foundation, underscores his significance in the field of emergency management and business continuity. With a proven track record of working with institutions of higher education and government entities, he is excited to return to CSUN to play a pivotal role in helping his beloved alma mater prepare for and respond to a wide range of emergency situations.


Catarino (Tony) Arias is the Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Community Outreach for Police Services. Before joining California State University Northridge, he spent twenty years as part of the Los Angeles Unified School District, where he worked in the largest school construction program in the United States as a Community Outreach Organizer and Senior Community Outreach Organizer. Most recently, as Director of Translations, Catarino successfully led and implemented one of the most comprehensive language access programs in a public school district in the United States. The program serves as a model of bringing “language justice” to Limited English Proficient parents, Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities, and differently-abled students.

Mr. Arias holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, Anthropology, and Spanish from the University of Redlands. Also, two Master’s degrees, one in Management from the University of Redlands and a second in Public Administration from California State University, Northridge. As well as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion certificate from Cornell University.

Catarino’s relentless passion and commitment for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community Outreach come from his personal life experiences, professional journey, and strong belief in higher education. He has dealt with food insecurity, the struggles of being an English learner, a first-generation college graduate, being raised by a single mother, and all the challenges encountered as an immigrant. Catarino has dedicated his career to serving and meeting the needs of low-income students, socioeconomically disadvantaged stakeholders, and culturally diverse communities. At the same time, he maintains his strong advocacy for higher education as a right and to make it equally accessible to all.