John Thomas is currently Interim Chief of the UCLA Police Department. He has worked in law enforcement and public safety for more than 38 years, and has extensive experience in all aspects of leading a law enforcement agency. He began his career at LAPD as a patrol officer and rose through the ranks, retiring as a Lieutenant II in 2005 and joining campus law enforcement at the University of the District of Columbia (an HBCU in D.C.). He also served 16+ years at the University of Southern California, initially as Assistant Chief and for the last nine years as their Executive Director/Chief. Prior to his recent retirement from USC, he oversaw more than 350 patrol, administrative, and operational personnel and managed a $52 million annual operating budget.
Throughout his career, John has served as a collaborative leader, coach, and mentor within his departments and for other municipal and higher education agencies. He has also been involved with a number of professional law enforcement organizations including the Consent Decree Monitoring Team for the Aurora Colorado Police Department.
Chief Thomas holds a B.A. in Political Science/Liberal Arts and a Master’s in Executive Leadership from the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. He has been on the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Police Historical Society since 1999. He is also on the Board of Directors for the Police Officers’ Association of Los Angeles County (POALAC).
Chief Thomas is also a member of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA), the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), Pac 12 Campus Chiefs’ Association, Campus Safety Magazine Advisory Board, California College & University Police Chiefs Association, and the FBI National Academy Associates. Despite being a retired Los Angeles Police Lieutenant, he continues to “Protect and Serve” the people of Los Angeles as an LAPD Line Reserve Officer working patrol and other assignments throughout the city.