John Thomas is Chief of the USC Department of Public Safety (DPS). Prior to USC, he spent 21 years as a member of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), where he retired at the rank of Lieutenant in December 2005 to accept a position as Deputy Chief of Police for the University of the District of Columbia Department of Public Safety & Emergency Management in Washington D.C. At USC, he was promoted to DPS Assistant Chief in 2009 and became Chief in 2013.
While at the LAPD, Chief Thomas worked patrol assignments in Wilshire, 77th Street, Southwest, Newton Street and Pacific Divisions. He was also assigned to the LADP Gang Enforcement Detail in South Los Angeles, Operation South Bureau CRASH and worked undercover narcotic enforcement as a member of the Department’s FALCON (Focused Attack Linking Community Organizations and Neighborhoods) Unit. While assigned to FALCON, he was awarded the City of Los Angeles’ City Angel Award for outstanding community enhancement and the Department’s Meritorious Unit Citation.
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.