Dr. Erroll Southers provides an update on the search for the next DPS Chief

The USC community is invited to participate in six input sessions and three meetings with final candidates before a decision around April 25.

Beginning on Monday, Feb. 14, the USC Department of Public Safety (DPS) Chief Search Committee will host six Community Input Sessions for members of the USC community to provide input on the next chief’s hiring process, according to Dr. Erroll Southers, associate senior vice president of safety and risk assessment for USC.

The Community Input Sessions will be held over Zoom at the following times and links:

Monday, Feb. 14, 2 to 3 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 16, 6 to 7 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 18, 9 to 10 a.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 22, 3 to 4 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 24, 6 to 7 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 26, 10 to 11 a.m.

Former Executive Director and Chief of the USC DPS John Thomas announced his retirement last fall. DPS has also gone through other internal changes in the past year. After the summer of 2020, USC formed a Community Advisory Board (CAB), which published an 80-page report of public safety goals in the summer of 2021 on ways the department can better serve the USC community. Southers, who served as a co-chair of the CAB, said the pillars and themes of this report have played a key role in the search for Thomas’s successor.

But Southers is not embarking on this search alone. “We have a number of people on the CAB last year, who are now part of the DPS search committee,” he said. “We’ve got a pastor, we’ve got a community leader. We’ve got Akil Bashir, who’s a member of our faculty and a 1960s Black Panther who lectures for us. It’s a very diverse collection of people from the community who are engaged with us.”

A full list of the search committee can be found on the DPS website.

Beyond these six sessions, Southers said there will be three additional sessions with each of the final candidates sometime in April before a decision is ideally made by April 25. The candidate will then, hopefully, be in place by Aug. 1 — just in time for the start of the fall semester.

“We’re going to put the three finalists in front of the community, and you can ask them questions and find out exactly what they are like,” Southers said.

For anyone unable to attend any of the initial six community input sessions or subsequent final candidate sessions, Southers said to reach out to him directly with concerns.

“I’m here for more hours than you believe. And I’ll make myself available,” Southers said. “The last thing I want [is] to have happened is have someone say, after this process that they weren’t heard. I really want to mitigate that at every single opportunity that we get.”