John Thomas grew up near the USC University Park Campus. As a 21-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, he patrolled those same streets and worked there undercover.
Today, Thomas is chief of the USC Department of Public Safety — the university’s police — and he understands the importance of ensuring safety for both the neighborhood and USC.
“We want to be the safest urban campus community in America,” he says. “You do that by building relationships with people, whether it’s students, faculty, staff or members of our community. Safety here at USC is a shared responsibility.”
The department’s reach extends 2.5 miles around the perimeters of both of its campuses through armed patrol officers, unarmed community service officers and security ambassadors who observe and report any concerning behaviors. That creates a visible presence in the neighborhood, bolstered by a strong partnership with the Los Angeles Police Department.
There is constant remote monitoring through cameras on buildings and street lamps mainly on and around the University Park Campus. The department also hosts the popular DPS Cadet Program, which trains local teens to work alongside law enforcement and neighborhood advocates to serve their community.
When students, staff or faculty need urgent help, they can use LiveSafe, a free smartphone app, to quickly connect with emergency responders around campus. USC also offers TrojansAlert, a real-time email and text message emergency notification system. In addition, students and employees can anonymously report concerns about any member of the USC community who may be struggling by using the Trojans Care for Trojans website. The university also provides transportation through Campus Cruiser and Lyft, which offer free rides to anyone with a USC email address within the Department of Public Safety service areas around both USC campuses during evenings and nights.
To learn more, visit safety.usc.edu online.