Following the January 2022 retirement of USC DPS Chief John Thomas, a diverse 22-person multi-disciplinary committee of faculty, staff, students and community stakeholders was formed, and an expert firm was appointed to search for a successor. A full list of Search Committee members is available here.
Since mid-February, the Committee has hosted two rounds of Community Input Sessions to inform decision making and ensure we achieve the ONE USC Safety Vision. The first round, consisting of eight meetings, was attended by more than 200 students, faculty, staff, neighbors, parents, and other university stakeholders. Participants were asked to identify important competencies and desired qualities for interviewing and prioritizing candidates.
At the second round of sessions held on April 15th, the final candidates were introduced:
Information obtained during the finalist sessions will be evaluated by the DPS Chief Search Committee and shared with the Senior Leadership Interview Committee to facilitate the final selection.
Successfully implementing the ONE USC Safety Vision described in the 2021 USC Department of Public Safety Community Advisory Board report is an overarching priority for the university’s next Chief of DPS, as is embracing other key reforms from the report which include: re-envisioning public safety, community care, alternatives to armed response, transparency and accountability.
The voices of students, faculty, staff, neighbors and other university stakeholders are playing an integral part in helping the Search Committee identify the most important qualities the next Chief should possess, the public safety changes the community would most like to see, and how the Chief can best serve the entire USC community.
Competencies and Qualities
The following table summarizes the competencies participants mentioned most in the university’s first round of community input sessions:
The committee heard from a diverse group of individuals whose views spanned the entire spectrum of public safety issues. As the committee interviewed and short-listed candidates, they were guided by these common themes:
- DPS needs to reflect the university’s core values.
- DPS must be diverse, and it must respect and promote diversity in the communities that it serves.
- DPS must be fair, equitable, and consistent in the way it conducts all of its activities.
- The new Chief must change the departmental culture and address employee issues and concerns within the department.
- The new Chief must communicate honestly, transparently, consistently, and directly to all of the communities that it serves.
- The new Chief and all of the DPS patrol and customer-facing officers and employees need to be knowledgeable, respectful, and responsive to the communities that surround the USC Campuses.
- The new Chief needs to re-evaluate how community and campus policing is conducted, and s/he must understand and address the root causes of our community’s safety issues
The ONE USC Safety Vision imagines a USC where everyone feels safe, respected, and protected from being a crime victim, while recognizing that this can only be achieved by addressing the diverse experiences and needs of all USC students, faculty, staff and neighbors throughout USC’s spheres of influence.