Earl Paysinger, the vice president of civic engagement at USC and a respected leader within the Los Angeles Police Department and the South L.A. community, died Monday. He was 64.
“We will miss Earl very deeply, as well as the bright smile he was so quick to share with others,” said David Brown, USC interim senior vice president for university relations.
“Our university and our city are better because of him, and I know we are all grateful for the wonderful legacy that he has built over these many years. His team, and so many throughout USC, will continue his good work with purpose and passion.”
Paysinger came to USC in 2016 with 41 years of experience at the Los Angeles Police Department, where he served with distinction, most notably as first assistant chief.
In his role as the university’s vice president of civic engagement, he strengthened community outreach and involvement in the neighborhoods surrounding USC. Through programs like the Good Neighbors Campaign — which provides educational and financial support to local families, businesses and organizations — he tackled tangible issues like small businesses and homelessness while working to elevate residents’ social, physical and economic well-being.
“There are always opportunities unrealized,” he said in 2016 as he settled into his new position. “As many programs as there are and opportunities available, there’s still a population of community and youth looking for something else — and our job is to provide that something else.”
Earl Paysinger: Focused on service, community outreach
During Paysinger’s tenure with the LAPD, the department forged enduring partnerships with neighborhoods throughout the Los Angeles area. His particular focus was South L.A., as he spent half his career in that community with the department’s 77th division.
“The fact that I’ve had that experience of seeing the people where they live and having a crystal clear perspective of what they need and what they’re asking for — I know that’s what makes my presence here valuable,” he said in 2016.
His hallmark achievements included a revitalization of the 21 Community Relations offices around the Los Angeles area. Paysinger also re-engineered the LAPD Cadet Leadership program, which has provided thousands of children with vital lessons in academic excellence, character and judgment. Its participants have a 91% graduation rate from high school.
“Chief Paysinger’s more than 40 years of sworn service left an indelible mark on this department. He spent his life believing in our collective ability to change the lives of every Angeleno, and he will be forever missed,” LAPD Chief Michel R. Moore said in a statement.
Paysinger grew up in Harbor City and earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from California State University, Long Beach. He was a graduate of the FBI’s Command College and the West Point Leadership Command and Development Program. He also earned an Executive Master of Leadership from the USC Price School of Public Policy.
He is survived by his wife, Miguel, and his two sons.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made in his memory to the USC Good Neighbors Campaign or LAPD Cadets (please specify “For the Cadet Program, in memory of Chief Paysinger”).