University of Southern California — Assistant Chief, Department of Public Safety

The University of Southern California is a leading private research university located in Los Angeles — a global center for arts, technology and international business. It is home to the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and 21 exceptional academic schools and units. USC’s Health Sciences campus houses renowned specialized care and research in cancer, stem cell and regenerative medicine, orthopedics and sports medicine. Founded in 1880, USC is home to over 47,500 students engaged in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. USC is among the most diverse institutions of higher education in America with 24 percent international students and more than 45 percent ethnic minority students. USC is a comprehensive research university, a member of the prestigious American Association of Universities—recognized for especially strong research and academic programs, and in a comprehensive 2019 ranking, The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education ranked USC 17th among more than 1,000 public and private universities. 

The USC Department of Public Safety (DPS) is one of the largest campus public safety departments in the United States, employing 306 full-time personnel and 30 part-time student workers. Under the leadership of Chief John Thomas, the department’s primary mission is to provide a safe and secure environment on campus and in the local USC community that allows students, faculty, staff and campus visitors to realize their academic and social pursuits. The department offers a variety of quality public safety services and educational programs administered through the utilization of highly trained personnel, state-of-the-art technology, and a community-based policing philosophy.

The University of Southern California is seeking a dynamic leader to serve in a newly created assistant chief position within the Department of Public Safety. This exciting opportunity provides the new assistant chief with the ability to infuse innovation, cutting-edge technology, and best practices to help shape the culture of the department and foster intentional partnerships with the entire university community. This position will fully embrace the 21st Century Policing philosophy ensuring the department is successfully incorporating strategies that continue to enhance crime reduction, promote safety, build community relationships, and effectively engage with students. As a prominent institution with a rich athletic history in Division 1, this position will be both exciting and rewarding, providing the new assistant chief with countless opportunities to make a positive impact on the diverse staff of the department as well as the broader campus community.

Reporting directly to the chief of police, the assistant chief coordinates and administers daily operation of activities related to law enforcement and crime prevention; provides high-level technical and administrative staff assistance to the chief; and assumes command of the department in the absence of the chief. This position plans, implements, coordinates and evaluates law enforcement and security activities in cooperation with local law enforcement jurisdictions and hospital security providers. The assistant chief is responsible for the application of leadership and community relations skills, including the ability to apply problem-solving methods and community-policing principles in addressing campus community and law enforcement issues. The assistant chief is also responsible for the leadership and motivation of personnel.

The successful candidate must possess a bachelor’s degree, preferably in a related field such as law enforcement, police science, police administration or criminology, and a minimum of 10 years of law enforcement/public safety experience, including 5 years progressively responsible management level (captain and above) experience. Please note, a combination of education, documented track record of achievement, and commensurate supervisory/management experience will also be considered in lieu of the command level of experience. In addition, the successful candidates must obtain a CA driver’s license and California POST certification or equivalent out of state training. If from out of state, the successful candidate must obtain the CA driver’s license and provide a waiver or re-qualification within a specified time frame. The assistant chief will have a thorough knowledge of and demonstrated commitment to national best practices in constitutional and community policing, including the principals of 21st Century Policing as described by President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. The successful candidate will have experience in both administrative and technical fields as they relate to law enforcement and security operations and executive level police manager experience with capability of managing public safety/police personnel through a command accountability structure via multiple layers of subordinate supervisors. Further, an ability to communicate effectively with diverse audiences; show respect and sensitivity for cultural differences; educates others on the value of diversity; promote a harassment-free environment; and experience building a diverse workforce are all attributes expected of the assistant chief. This individual must provide a positive impact on morale and contribute to a positive team environment as well as treat people with respect, keep commitments, inspire the trust of others, work ethically and with integrity, and uphold organizational values. A master’s degree, knowledge of campus law enforcement, and completion of an advanced police leadership training from FBI National Academy, Command College, FBI LEEDA, etc. are all preferred characteristics of the assistant chief.

Review of applications will begin October 15, 2019 and continue until the position is filled. A resume with an accompanying cover letter may be submitted via the Spelman Johnson website at Nominations for this position may be emailed to Heather J. Larabee at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the University of Southern California’s website at

USC is an equal-opportunity educator and employer, proudly pluralistic and firmly committed to providing equal opportunity for outstanding persons of every race, gender, creed, and background. The University particularly encourages women, members of underrepresented groups, veterans, and individuals with disabilities to apply. USC will make reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with known disabilities unless doing so would result in an undue hardship.