The new DPS leader has been chief of police at Dallas College — one of the largest community colleges in Texas, with nearly 75,000 undergraduate students — for six years.
Lauretta Hill, a law enforcement veteran with nearly three decades of experience in public safety, has been named assistant vice president/chief at the USC Department of Public Safety.
Hill comes to USC from the Dallas College Police Department, where she has been chief of police for six years. There, she combined seven separate police departments into one functional police agency, developed new policies and hired new staff to align with the priorities of one of the largest community colleges in Texas, with nearly 75,000 undergraduate students. The changes resulted in consistency in operations across the seven campuses in the college system and enhanced accountability and transparency by the department to the students, faculty, staff and community stakeholders.
“She is a team builder and transformational leader,” Erroll Southers, USC associate senior vice president, safety and risk assurance, wrote in an email to the university community. The search committee was impressed with her work at Dallas College, said Southers, who noted that Hill’s inclusive philosophy aligns with the ONE USC Safety Vision, developed by the DPS Community Advisory Board.
“She understands that our community members come from diverse backgrounds and experiences and brings years of community policing experience to help us achieve our goal of having all students, faculty, staff and neighbors feel respected and safe,” Southers said.
Prior to leading the Dallas College Police Department, Hill served as deputy chief at the Miami Beach Police Department in Florida and assistant chief at the Arlington Police Department in Texas.
New USC DPS chief sees ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity
“I’m so excited,” Hill said. “You see some positions and you go, ‘Man, that would be great — what an opportunity.’ When you see those, you know they’re once in a lifetime.”
Hill said she is especially eager to help the department through a time when some are questioning the role of law enforcement in society.
This is a department that is on the forefront of what universities can be when they collaborate with their community — internal and external.Lauretta Hill
“This is a department that is on the forefront of what universities can be when they collaborate with their community — internal and external,” she said. “This is how you get policing through this period of uncertainty and reform.
“We’ve got to regain that trust and legitimacy.”
She said she felt welcome and at home throughout the extensive interview process, during which she met with administrators, faculty, students, staff and residents of the neighborhoods that surround USC’s campuses.
“I felt so comfortable in my own skin with total strangers,” she said. “I don’t change who I am — I’m always the same person, whatever audience I’m in … [but] I felt immediately I don’t have to change anything about me. I can be my authentic self at USC because they’re telling me that’s what they want — they want authenticity in their teams.”
Hill earned a master’s degree from Texas Christian University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Arlington. She is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, the Police Executive Research Forum’s Senior Management School, and Cornell University’s program in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Building a Diverse Workforce.
Hill said she and her family — husband, Maurice; and sons, Jeremiah, 14, and Jonathan, 9 — are eager to relocate to Southern California, having vacationed in the region twice this year.
Hill will start her new role on Jan. 23.