On Patrol: Events Done Right

Planning and community relations are just some of the ways USC’s Chief Carey Drayton keeps campus activities rewarding and positive experiences for all involved.

The University of Southern California (USC) is one of the world’s leading private research universities, and it has panache unparalleled by most other U.S. educational facilities.

Adding to this reputation is its thriving athletic program and the tailgating that inevitably goes with it, particularly during a successful football season. Although these events have a festival-type atmosphere, difficulties can and do arise on occasion that must be managed appropriately. Additionally, political protests, parties, concerts and controversial speakers, both planned and unplanned, all require the guidance and participation of USC’s department of public safety.

These issues, along with the fact that the school’s main campus is located in the second largest city in the nation and is surrounded by six active gangs, means USC’s public safety department must work closely with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and other agencies to maintain the safety and security of all campus constituents.

Leading these efforts is Executive Director/Chief of Public Safety Carey Drayton, who outlines how he and his department successfully handle the wide variety of activities and issues that keep USC a challenging but rewarding campus to patrol.

In your career, you’ve had to deal with a lot of student protests and events. How do you prepare for these activities?

Drayton: I tell the staff I don’t want to be called when there’s a problem. I want to be called before the problem ever exists. Prevent the problem from occurring. Why should we do firehouse policing? The firefighters are there waiting for the alarm to go off. We should not police in that fashion.

If there is a group of people having an event, the likelihood of where the next problem will occur is going to be at that event. So why not be there, prevent it and not be needed?

About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray
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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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