April 4, 2014 10:26:54 AM
Mississippi State University named Tim A. Potts, a law enforcement agent with a 23-year career, as the university's next police chief.
His appointment is pending approval by the State College Board. Potts is expected to begin serving MSU May 15.
Potts has worked at Purdue University since 1997, serving most recently as the school's captain of patrol operations. In that capacity, he led a 42-person team, including officers and support staff. The job tasked him with departmental training and athletic event security.
He also served as the university police department's accreditation manager when it began seeking initial Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies accreditation.
The Purdue system is comprised of six campuses and enrolls almost 40,000 students. In 2011 and 2012, the Indiana university recorded 2,716 and 2,735 emergency calls, respectively, according to a university police document. The bulk of those - about 1,100 each year - were EMS calls.
"I am looking forward to listening to the students, staff and faculty on issues important to them and working collaboratively," he said in a university release. "I am anxious to become part of the Bulldog family."
Potts received a bachelor's degree in sociology in 1987 from St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer, Ind. He previously served with local law enforcement agencies in Indiana before joining Purdue. Additionally, the incoming police chief graduated from the FBI National Academy in 2005.
Former MSU Police Chief Georgia Lindley resigned her position last year. She joined the university's law enforcement agency and became chief in 2005. Assistant Chief Kenneth Spencer was named the interim department head in her absence.
Potts was chosen from a four-person finalist pool, MSU Chief Communications Officer Sid Salter said. Campus interviews were conducted last month.
"Our exceptional and nationally accredited police department is a critical component in assuring the safety of our campus. We are excited about Tim Pots as our new police chief. He brings extensive experience and outstanding leadership abilities to our police department," said Bill Kibler, MSU vice president for student affairs, in the release. "Working together with the excellent team we have at UPD, Tim will be able to lead us to even higher levels of professionalism, performance and innovation."
"His personality and his wealth of experience in university law enforcement will be a benefit to an already excellent MSU police department," Dean of Students Thomas Bourgeois added in the same release. "Community engagement has always been an integral part of the MSU Police Department, and Tim's experience and philosophy in this area will integrate exceptionally well. We have hired an outstanding leader not only for our police department but an ambassador for our university."
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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