Story by Ashley Traylor, staff writer
Klay Peterson, the third candidate for Chief of Police, has been the director of Public Safety and chief of police at University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg, South Carolina, since 2007 and, in 2013, began teaching criminal justice at USC Upstate. His university experience also extends to California Lutheran University where he worked as director of Campus Safety for four years.
Peterson was sheriff’s deputy of San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and served as a police officer, public information officer and supervisor for crime prevention and in the Community Services Bureau at the Riverside Police Department in California. Additionally, he was the chief of tribal police for San Manuel Band of Mission Indians for six years.
Campus Safety Magazine named Peterson a National Campus Safety Director of the Year Finalist in 2016, while his institution was recognized by the National Campus Safety Summit as the first runner-up for 2015 Department of the Year out of 4,600 eligible institutions.
Peterson earned a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from California State University San Bernardino and a Master of Public Policy and Administration from California Lutheran University. He is a certified facilitator of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, a personal leadership program focusing on making individuals’ leadership skills more effective.
The key responsibility of the chief is to make sure that police department aligns with the mission statement of the university. It is critical for success, Peterson said.
Peterson was hired as police chief at California Lutheran University and USC Upstate to change the departments, but he said he is not familiar enough with Murray State’s department to know his strategic plan for the university. Although, Peterson said there is always room for continual improvement.