DPS Chief Search

Finalist Community Input Sessions

On April 15, the search committee will host its Finalist Community Input Sessions. The sessions will be held in-person at Wallis Annenberg Hall, in the Annenberg Auditorium. Each session will feature one of the finalists, and participants will have the opportunity to interact and ask questions. Your voices will play an integral part in helping us select USC’s next Department of Public Safety Chief and ensuring we achieve the ONE USC Safety Vision.

The sessions take place on the following times:

Finalist #1: Friday, April 15 3:00pm-4:00pm

Finalist #2: Friday, April 15 4:15pm-5:15pm

You can register for the session here:

Search Committee

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.


Successfully implementing the ONE USC Safety Vision described in the 2021 USC Department of Public Safety Community Advisory Board report is an overarching priority, as is embracing other key reforms from the report which include: re-envisioning public safety, community care, alternatives to armed response, transparency and accountability. 

To achieve this, the Search Committee hosted its first round of Community Input Sessions designed to engage and gather input. The voices of students, faculty, staff, neighbors and other university stakeholders must play 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. 

First Round of Community Input Sessions

The eight sessions, attended by over 200 students, faculty, staff, neighbors and other university stakeholders, produced a set of important outputs that the committee will rely on as it interviews and shortlists candidates.

The following table summarizes the competencies participants mentioned most:

The committee heard voices that span the entire spectrum of views on public safety and as they interviewed and short-listed candidates, they were guided by the following 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

Search Timeline

The ONE USC Safety Vision

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 achieve that goal by addressing the diverse experiences and needs of all USC students, faculty, staff and neighbors throughout USC’s spheres of influence