Campus Safety Magazine has named University of South Carolina Upstate Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police Klay Peterson one of its finalists for the 9th Annual Campus Safety Director of the Year awards program. The award recognizes outstanding campus public safety, security and emergency management leaders and the effective policies, procedures and technologies they use to protect their organizations. The winners and runners up will be announced at the Campus Safety Conference in Washington, D.C. in July.
Among the notable achievements for which Peterson is being lauded includes a partnership he and his staff forged with Spartanburg County Communications/911 to provide full dispatch service for the University community that went into effect in January 2015. The 911 call center handles all emergency calls for the University’s police officers, while the USC Upstate Department of Public Safety handles all non-emergency calls originating from the campus, such as persons in need of an escort to and from a building, inquiring about parking or parking citations, or who need assistance due to a dead battery. This transition improved services and enhanced the safety of members of the USC Upstate community and the police officers in the field.
“Chief Peterson and his staff are forward thinking, action-oriented folks who want to provide the best service possible to the thousands of people who depend on them every day,” said Mike Flynn ʾ13, director of Spartanburg County Communications. “They are paving the way for other police organizations who serve and protect educational institutions in this county, as they are the first to partner with the dispatch center.”
Peterson attended the National Campus Safety Summit in February where spoke about the transition and inclusion into the Spartanburg County 911 Communications Network. “Chief Peterson was awarded First Runner-Up for the National Campus Safety Department of the Year by Safe Campus, the National Campus Safety Summit, as a result of improving campus safety though advances in emergency communications, technological improvements, implemented training programs and facility upgrades. Safe Campus chose USC Upstate from over 4,700 eligible departments,” said USC Upstate Chancellor Tom Moore. “The Chief’s leadership and ability to remain at the forefront of campus safety needs means that our campus community is provided with a safe and secure environment in which the focus can remain on learning and the campus experience.”
Additionally, Peterson is being commended for managing the installation of access control systems in 11 buildings on the 330-acre main campus in Spartanburg, S.C. The Police Department now has the ability to lock down these buildings in the event of an emergency thus providing better protection to the campus community against threatening situations and decreasing the time that buildings remain vulnerable to intruders. Peterson also secured funding for the upgrade of the campus fire alarm systems. As the result of the support from many stakeholders across campus, USC Upstate now enjoys enhanced response times to fire alarm activations.
“This award was earned by the men and women of the USC Upstate Department of Public Safety who tirelessly serve our campus community with pride and professionalism every day. I am grateful to work with such an inspiring group of public safety professionals,” said Peterson.
Peterson has been with USC Upstate since May 2007. Prior to joining USC Upstate he was the Director of Public Safety at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, Ca. He also served as the Tribal Chief of Police for the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and worked as a law enforcement officer in various capacities for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and Riverside Police Department in Southern California. Peterson earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from California State University San Bernardino and a master’s degree in public policy and administration from California Lutheran University.