Hughes will assume his new role Aug. 31.
Hughes has more than 20 years of law enforcement experience.
In his most recent post, he oversaw administrative and operational functions as director of the Department of Public Safety at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colo. Hughes joined the department in April 2010. He served as assistant director until November 2010, when he was promoted to chief of police and director of public safety.
Previously, Hughes served as sergeant for the town of Breckenridge, Colo. There, he led a team of patrol officers and worked as a field training officer and S.W.A.T. team leader.
Hughes, who earned a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement from Ohio University in 1990, received a master’s degree in organizational leadership and criminal justice leadership this summer from Colorado State University, Global Campus.
At Cal Poly, Hughes will succeed Chief Bill Watton, who is retiring Aug. 24 after a decade in that job.
Hughes will oversee the police and parking departments with 45 staff members, including 18 sworn officers, and an annual budget of about $8 million.