USC taps new police chief during break

In addition to implementing several new security measures on Monday, the 280-member Dept. of Public Safety force began the semester under new leadership.

USC administrators promoted Assistant Chief John Thomas to executive director and chief, according to a memorandum issued Thursday.

Thomas’ predecessor, Carey Drayton, will assume the position of special assistant to Charlie Lane, associate senior vice president of Career and Protective Services.

The memo, which announced the changes to vice presidents, deans, directors and department heads, did not cite a reason for the leadership shuffle.

Lane and Senior Vice President of Administration Todd R. Dickey, the memo’s authors, did not immediately respond to interview requests.

The memo thanks Drayton for his seven-year tenure as chief as well as for expanding DPS operations and receiving accreditation from the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.

“He has been a major influence in higher education public safety circles and his forward-thinking strategies will continue to serve USC well into the future,” Dickey and Lane wrote.

Before joining DPS in July 2006 as captain of operations, Thomas worked as the adjutant to Los Angeles Police Department chiefs William J. Bratton, Martin Pomeroy and Bernard C. Parks, according to the memo. Thomas began his LAPD career as a field officer in 1984 and held various roles thereafter, including sergeant and lieutenant.

After his time at the LAPD, Thomas transitioned into working in higher-education security. He worked as deputy chief of police in the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Management at the University of the District of Columbia.

At USC, Thomas helped implement a new model for analyzing crimes and oversaw plans for President Barack Obama’s visit to USC in 2010.

“With more than 28 years of experience, [Thomas] is highly respected in law enforcement, having worked with some of the field’s most well-known leaders,” Dickey and Lane wrote.

The memo did not indicate Drayton’s new responsibilities. Drayton applied for a position at the University of Tennessee last February but was not hired, according to documents released by UT last year.

“It was a good decision for me [because] I want to be here at USC,” Drayton told the Daily Trojan during a phone interview in September.