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John Thomas named as UCLA’s new chief of police

Pictured is the UCLA Police Department. UCLA alumnus and current interim chief of police John Thomas was chosen to serve as chief of police Thursday. (Daily Bruin file photo)

By Sharla Steinman

Jan. 11, 2024 2:21 p.m.

Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly stated that John Thomas graduated from UCLA in 1984. In fact, Thomas attended UCLA from 1980 to 1984 but graduated from Mount St. Mary’s University.

This post was updated Jan. 11 at 10:33 p.m.

The current interim chief of police John Thomas will serve as UCLA’s new chief of police.

Thomas, who attended UCLA from 1980 to 1984, has served as UCLA’s interim chief of police since December 2022. The previous chief of police, Tony Lee, retired in 2022 after serving since 2017.

Thomas previously held positions at the University of Southern California’s Department of Public Safety from 2006 to 2022, including police captain, assistant chief, executive director and chief, and was also a special advisor to the senior vice president for administration, according to the email.

Additionally, Thomas was deputy chief of police and emergency management at the University of the District of Columbia from 2005 to 2006. He has also served in various positions in the LAPD, achieving the rank of lieutenant, according to a campuswide email.

During his time as a student at UCLA, Thomas served as editor in chief of the Black student magazine NOMMO, which is published by UCLA Student Media, and worked at the ASUCLA bookstore, according to the email.

“Chief Thomas is well known for his collaborative and community-oriented approach to public safety, as well as his strong commitment to the mentorship of law enforcement and civic leaders,” said Michael J. Beck, administrative vice chancellor, in the email.

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Sharla Steinman | City and Crime Editor
Steinman is the 2023-2024 city and crime editor. She was previously a city and crime contributor. She is also a fourth-year political science student.
Steinman is the 2023-2024 city and crime editor. She was previously a city and crime contributor. She is also a fourth-year political science student.
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