Police chief lost job bid at Tennessee

Dept. of Public Safety Chief Carey Drayton applied for a position as University of Tennessee’s police chief earlier this year but was not hired, according to documents released by UT.

On an evaluation page of the four finalists for the position, Drayton was the only candidate the search committee circled as “unacceptable,” according to the UT documents.

Drayton said this week he was satisfied UT chose someone else for the position.

“It was a good decision for me ’cause I want to be here at USC,” he said in a phone interview Tuesday.

Drayton, who has worked as DPS chief for six years, applied for the UT position Feb. 17 and was one of four finalists, according to the UT documents. Drayton said he was asked by officials at UT to apply for the position. UT received more than 60 applicants, according to the UT documents.

The UT search committee, in a bulleted list, cited as Drayton’s weaknesses: “condescending arrogance (rubbed some the wrong way),” “lack of reliability,” “appears to work well with higher-ups but not lower-levels,” “controversy,” “too big picture (lack of respect for detail)” and “lack of stability,” according to the UT documents.

“That’s people’s opinions, right, and I don’t have a comment on their opinions,” Drayton said.

Though the university could not comment on private personnel issues, Charlie Lane, associate vice president for career and protective services, said Drayton has worked effectively during his time at USC.

“USC cannot discuss private employment matters publicly, but I will say that Chief Drayton has worked extremely hard and served USC well,” Lane wrote in an email.

For Drayton’s strengths, the UT search committee, in a bulleted list, cited: “higher education experience,” “worked large events,” “experience with accreditation,” “knows the business” and “could be likable,” according to the UT documents.

Though USC knew that the UT committee did not select Drayton, university officials were unaware of his evaluation, according to Lane.

“We are only aware that the committee chose not to move forward with Chief Drayton as a candidate,” Lane wrote in an email.

The UT documents, which include references, letters and summaries of interviews, were obtained by the Knoxville News Sentinel under an open records request, and the paper agreed to share the documents with the Daily Trojan.

In his application letter, which is included in the UT documents, Drayton wrote: “This position offers the ideal setting for this stage in my career because of the name and reputation of the University of Tennessee, and it’s location in the country.”

The committee met for a final time May 14, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel. The university announced May 30 that it had chosen the police chief at the University of Wyoming as its new head of police.

Drayton was hired at USC as assistant chief of DPS in November 2005 and was promoted to chief and executive director of DPS in January 2006, according to the DPS website.

USC instituted a pre-employment screening policy in 2000 that includes background and reference checks, according to Lane. Drayton received the same screening as all other university hires, Lane said.

“His employment record, references, and performance on the job were all taken into consideration when the decisions were made to hire and subsequently promote him,” Lane wrote in an email.

Before coming to USC, Drayton spent 10 years as Florida State University’s police chief.   Drayton resigned from FSU three months before coming to USC, citing a need to help his mother who had cancer, according to documents released by FSU to the Daily Trojan.

Though Drayton formally resigned, FSU’s senior vice president of finance and administration, John Carnaghi, was documented as saying in one reference to the UT search committee that he asked Drayton to leave the university. The UT documents show that Carnaghi told the UT search committee that he made that decision after he learned of a paternity suit that was filed against Drayton by another FSU employee.

Drayton and the child’s mother reached a settlement under which Drayton accepted paternity and agreed to pay child support, according to case documents from the Leon County Clerk’s Office in Tallahassee. Carnaghi said Drayton never disclosed the suit to him, according to the UT documents.

The UT interviewer asked Carnaghi a series of questions. The UT documents provide the following account of Carnaghi’s final comments:

“When [Carnaghi] checked into [the paternity suit] and confronted the chief, [Drayton] admitted that it was true and that he and his wife worked it out and that he decided not to tell anyone about it. [Carnaghi] had a major concern about why [Drayton] did not tell him, said that he thought that they had a wonderful relationship. He told the chief that he would have to leave because he would no longer be effective at addressing issues once this was discovered. He also said this tarnished [Drayton’s] decision making in his view. He ended by saying that he was an excellent chief that did a lot of good for the university … but he made a decision that no one could understand that cost him his position.”

Carnaghi was out of town and did not respond to an email request for comment.

When asked about the circumstances of leaving FSU, Drayton referred to his formal letter of resignation, which cited his mother’s illness as his reason for leaving.

Lane said USC was not aware of all the circumstances around Drayton’s departure, but the university was aware of the paternity suit at the time of the hire.

“This has had no bearing on his performance on the job,” Lane said.

John Martin, FSU’s assistant vice president for administration from 1993 to 1998, told the UT search committee that he would hire Drayton again, according to his reference in the UT documents.  “If you asked if I would ever hire him again, I would say yes,” Martin was documented as saying in his reference. “But, I would have to ask and find out what in the world he was thinking on the personal decision issue.”

Dan Murphy, chairman of the UT search committee, did not respond to an interview request from the Daily Trojan.

In 2003, Drayton was the subject of an FSU investigation into six allegations.

According to a report from FSU’s chief audit officer, four of the allegations were unsubstantiated and two were partially substantiated. The report partially substantiated an allegation that background checks were improperly approved for officers that Drayton wanted to hire. Drayton did not sign off on the background checks himself. In addition, the report said “inappropriate pictures and a movie” were found on computers used by Drayton, but investigators could not determine who had placed them there.

“I don’t remember those investigations, quite honestly,” Drayton said Tuesday. “That was in 2003.”

After the investigation, Paul Strouts, an associate vice president at FSU, wrote a memo to Drayton, according to the FSU documents.

“As we discussed, the great majority of these allegations were without merit,” Strouts wrote in the memo on FSU stationery. “They do, however, serve as a clear reminder that someone in your position necessarily needs to be held to a very high standard. I know that you understand this and will continue to conduct yourself accordingly.”


Chelsea Stone and Alexis Driggs contributed to this report.

26 replies
  1. UT Set Up!
    UT Set Up! says:

    Has anyone thought that this was UT’s effort to successfully embarrass a USC official? The University of Tennessee was so enraged when Lane Kiffin left their football program I wouldn’t put it past them to intentionally “invite” Chief Drayton to apply with the complete purpose of embarrassing a USC officer. Why else would they send a copy of his application to the Daily Trojan. The ultimate disappointment is that DT “reporters” fell for the trick. If the UT Sentinel was genuinely concerned about our Chief’s leadership shouldn’t that information have gone to the Chief’s superior, Charlie Lane, rather than USC’s TRASHpaper?

  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I’m going to side with the author. This article was compelling, and it provides insight into the administration of the university. DPS has problems, and this story gives a well-researched and interesting view of some of the important (and inept) figures behind it.

  3. Concerned Reader
    Concerned Reader says:

    The comment from the DPS employee is based on emotion and is grossly inaccurate. The Department of Public Safety does not hire individuals from other agencies who have been terminated for employee issues. To state that DPS field personnel lack the proper knowledge is to insult the fine men and women in the department who have dedicated themselves to serving the university community. All staff hired into the Department of Public Safety must pass rigorous backround screening, including possessing the required knowledge and experience in order to be hired for the position. When you see a Department of Public Safety officer, know that they have undergone a lengthy process in order to be of service here. It might be a good idea to thank them for the hard work they do to keep you safe each and every day.

  4. Katherine
    Katherine says:

    This doesn’t read as a tabloid to me–a tabloid would focus much more on the fact that he was involved in a paternity suit and sensationalized the fact that he wasn’t chosen for a new job. Maybe it even would have emphasized that he wanted to leave USC. This article, however, highlighted that our head of campus safety (what I consider to be one of the most important jobs on campus, especially in light of all the crime that goes on in this area on top of normal college campus problems) was the ONLY applicant considered ‘unacceptable’ at another higher education institution. If it had just said ‘he didn’t get the job’, THAT is tabloid gossip. This is saying that he’s “unacceptable” to another school, which might conceivably be a warning sign for us. This is a good article that has been meticulously researched and presented in a straightforward manner. I’m not entirely sure what kind of tabloids you’re reading, but based on your condemnation of this they must have better articles than half of the actual ‘news’ pieces that I read nowadays. Thank you, DT.

    • Ras
      Ras says:

      I want to know if the reporters Annalise or Daniel ever had a situation where their boyfriend or girlfriend called them a liar. Since they are reporters for our University, the public has a right to know if even in their personal lives, their veracity has been questioned. This is the same set of rules about exposing the truth as it pertains to a person’s ability to do their job and what is just diggng into personal matters. Annalise and Daniel made these rules so they should live by it now.

      Katherine, if you really want to parse why Drayton was deemed “unacceptable” to Tenn but acceptable to USC, then perhaps the reporters needed to investigate the hiring practices, standards and criteria of the two universities, which they did not.

  5. Bobbi
    Bobbi says:

    Wow. Just wow. This story serves no purpose and is really quite offensive. Certainly a huge disgrace to the journalistic integrity of the Daily Trojan. This whole comment string really shows that the paper as a whole (and surely its oversight) has come downhill lately.

  6. Dreeeeezzzz nutzzz
    Dreeeeezzzz nutzzz says:

    Let the boys plays and let the people speak. Part of working for in a public position is, well, having your information open to the public. Comes with the territory. There’s perks to to being police chief too, don’t let anyone convince there isn’t. The paper just took this information and spread it through the channels, like an objective paper is supposed to do…chill pill guys.

    • Ras
      Ras says:

      Yes, so then fair is fair and Annalise and Daniel are both basically proclaiming their own personal lives are open for scrutiny since they also work for the university in a public manner. Let’s see how they feel when a disgruntled boyfriend or girlfriend or coworker bring personal dirt to the public discourse and lets see Annalise and Daniel decry how that kind of smut has no bearing on their abilities as journalists. I am sure the Chief has similar sentiments right now… That kind of hypocrisy is so hilariously not understood by self entitled, self important SC students that are used to a sheltered life protected by mommy and daddy. I do not envy these reporters…they basically gave the public an open license to judge all personal aspects of their own lives.

  7. LAUSC Guy
    LAUSC Guy says:

    Disgusting article to publish something like that. The attacking and childish nature of it. And wow was it boring. Hope the writer is not a journalist major.

    • LAUSC Guy
      LAUSC Guy says:

      Of course free speech. But the paper should have some oversight and not publish stupid stuff like this. It’s a pathetic attempt at “journalism” and it is embarrassing to the USC community and unfair the the Cheif.

  8. Alex
    Alex says:

    I am ashamed that an article like this was allowed to be printed under USC’s name. Public safety is obviously a very important issue at this school, but this article does nothing to link extremely personal details about Chief Drayton to campus safety. Instead, this article reads like a tabloid. The Daily Trojan could use a reminder that it is a UNIVERSITY institution, not a reality TV show. A staff or faculty’s personal life should not be a source of entertainment or scandal for students. The students who wrote this article should also take a moment to consider that Chief Drayton, along with the rest of DPS, is at this school to protect us as students so we can enjoy our time here in safety. I am appalled that the writers and editors of this article have senselessly humiliated a man who has dedicated his life to protecting them. Shame on you all.

  9. Willie Hartman
    Willie Hartman says:

    I echo the sentiment that many above have expressed regarding this piece. It’s so sad as to be funny, (bathetic in fact (shout out to Dr. Green)). I can only hope that, in the future, while the DT goes about discrediting people, they maintain their own credibility.

    While I stand by what I have said above, I do hope that the community continues to give the DT a chance. Just like the dissenters point out, people make mistakes, and this mistake of an article could be a great learning opportunity for Annalise and Daniel. I have come to expect better quality material, especially that co-authored by a law student.

    Or the DT could become the SChallot and compete with the Onion.

  10. Seriously
    Seriously says:

    Character counts, especially for those who lead Departments of Public Safety. Clearly, Chief Drayton is no straight arrow. Although many commenters say they dislike this kind of journalism, I think it’s important to know who is leading our security team at the university. The student reporters obtained this information from public, reliable sources, not from some disgruntled underling. I applaud their efforts in shedding light on his less-than-stellar character.

  11. DT alumnus
    DT alumnus says:

    The DT is not a tabloid. A tabloid is exactly where this story belongs. Of all things, you used this kind of a story to ruin your relationship with a vital source? If you’re going to hurt that relationship, at least do it with a worthwhile story.

  12. TrojanFamily
    TrojanFamily says:

    If I was Chief Drayton I would seek the advice of an ambitious attorney and sue The University of Tennessee for submitting personally damaging subjective comments from an employment interview as well as the unprofessional University administrator that would submit such comments to a newspaper.

    I would also sue the Daily Trojan, its student reporters, as well as it’s editor (lack of appropriate oversight of immature students) for its malicious attack on a person’s career.

    Annalise and Daniel, it is you and the rest of the student body that the Chief and his team strives to protect and instead of focusing on his job performance, you choose to serve up some personal “dirt” that belongs in a gossip rag, not a University newspaper.

    As for the comment from “DPS Employee”–sounds like typical disgruntled current or former employee vitriol.

    Remember this article when you go out into the big, bad world of employment and suddenly your own Facebook and Twitter accounts, phone and text records become fair game for judgement.

  13. Ras
    Ras says:

    I agree this article smacks more of TMZ then DT…I guess that means Annalise, Daniel and the DT Editors all agree their personal lives are also up for public scrutiny since they also work for the University and as the University journalists, should they get blemishes on their personal relationships, the public also deserves to have it aired out in the open since the reporters are proclaiming it is the public’s right to know…

    That said, i don’t think a white, heterosexual, middle aged man with the same qualifications as Drayton would ever get a top, executive position of a department at USC. Drayton fits the bill for USC’s love of beating the diversity drum. It is sad because this “news” story pulls forward so many different types of hypocrisy on so many levels.

  14. New Freshman
    New Freshman says:

    As a new freshman member of the Trojan family, I was excited to hear that our school had its own newspaper – until I began to read articles such as this one. While some might consider this story news, people with dignity and common sense would simply consider it an opinionated rant on a staff member of the University for no good reason.

    As opposed to promoting the good, world-class research and discoveries that come out of USC, this story simply attempts to shoot down a school official whose personal life has absolutely nothing to do with his professional one – and it crosses the line between quality journalism and journalistic nonsense. Therefore, as opposed to promoting the good news that comes out of our school each day, the Daily Trojan is simply needlessly running articles such as this one which serve no good purpose to anyone. When I read a NEWS article, I expect it to keep me informed on what’s actually going on, not attempt to influence me and get me to dislike someone for no good reason – that’s what sensationalistic tabloids are for, and I thought the Daily Trojan was better than that.

    As I look back to one of the earlier Daily Trojan issues published when school started, Editor Sean Fitz-Gerald even said, “I want the DT to be the sounding board for USC. I want us to be relevant to you. I want our papers to crowd your desk at home or in your dorm room. […] Tell us what you want covered. Tell us what you want more of. And — perhaps most importantly — tell us what we’re doing wrong and why.” While his wishes might be genuine, stories such as this one are what unnecessarily tarnish the reputation of the school and of the Daily Trojan.

    This story is simply pointless and this type of essentially “rubbish” journalism that comes from the Daily Trojan needs to come to an end. As the Professor touched upon above, it’s time to ask when the Daily Trojan will take responsibility for its errors.

  15. Professor
    Professor says:

    Dear Annalise and Daniel,
    I realize you are students, so please continue to learn. It is not news that a candidate for a position did not resonate with the selection committee. It is very inappropriate to print comments from interviews in this manner. It is very rare that a candidate for a position leaves the interview process without some negative comments. That may be due to differences in style, expectations, philosophy, etc. Your motives are unclear in writing this piece, but the objective reader could conclude that you are biased against the Chief and want to move others to your position. Your passing, almost dismissive, comment about his mother’s cancer makes it seem like an insufficient reason to leave his position and, instead, you give tremendous weight to the child he is now caring for. We all make errors in judgment at some point in our lives. The question is how we respond to those errors. It appears that the Chief took responsibility for his—will you take responsibility for yours?

  16. Disappointed
    Disappointed says:

    I know suggesting some adult supervision for DT writers and editors would cause questions about journalistic integrity and editorial Independence. But after “articles” like this, one wonders if there is any journalistic integrity left to lose. Perhaps supervision would be the wrong direction, how about finding a mentor or advisory group who could help raise standards at the DT?

    This is embarrassing and disappointing work. Trojans should be better than this.

  17. Alum
    Alum says:

    Agreeing with the two above. This is a pathetic excuse for journalism. Spare the USC community your pointless rants on an individual’s personal life.

  18. Student/Staff
    Student/Staff says:

    100% Agree with the comment above. This man is representing SC at this moment, how is this helpful with all the great changes we have in mind? I’m sure there is an explanation behind but if this article does nothing other than cause laughter and embarassment than you FAILED! Let’s see what evolves from this.

  19. Trojan Parent
    Trojan Parent says:

    Congratulations Editors! You have officially taken the DT to a new low. No respectable newspaper would print such drivel. What is the news here—that the Chief was not hired for a job and that he had a baby with someone many years ago? The only purpose of this article is to try and embarrass an individual. It is so clear that you have a personal ax to grind with this person and you are using your paper to get back at him. This kind of tabloid journalism is below USC and, I thought, below the DT. Clearly I was wrong on that second part. The editors and author have bright futures at the National Enquirer or at one of the many gossip web sites that purport to tell the news. One day you will apply for a job and I can only hope that the negative comments of those who interview you will be published in the newspaper. Perhaps the company you apply to will question your judgment when they learned you published such trash. You have successfully embarrassed USC for no good reason. Way to go DT!!!

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