Longtime law enforcement professional Brian Thomas has been named assistant chief of police at Western Carolina University.
Formerly with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Thomas succeeds Steve Lillard, who was named WCU’s police chief in February 2018.
“As chief, I am very pleased that the search committee located a strong candidate from within North Carolina who has a vast knowledge of university operations and a knack for solving difficult problems,” said Lillard. “I am happy to have Assistant Chief Thomas serving as a member of my command staff and look forward to working closely with him as we take the WCU Police Department into the future and seek to accomplish the goals that we have set forth.”
Thomas holds a doctoral degree in education from North Carolina State University, a master of public administration degree from UNC Charlotte, and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of North Florida. He is a certified emergency manager through both the International Association of Emergency Managers and the North Carolina Emergency Management Association and a general instructor certification through N.C. Training and Standards. He also is an American Heart Association CPR instructor and an active shooter response trainer.
“I wasn’t really looking to make a major life change at this point in my career, but WCU provided me with an opportunity that I could not pass up,” said Thomas. “I got a really positive vibe from the moment I stepped on campus to interview with members of the search committee, members of the WCU Police Department and other campus partners. I am very grateful for this opportunity and excited to be serving as the assistant chief for the WCU Police Department.”
Thomas has served as a field training officer, patrol sergeant, watch commander, patrol lieutenant and professional standards lieutenant. Away from work, he enjoys running, participating in 5K races and visiting major league and minor league baseball stadiums to watch games. He will live locally with his wife, Kristi, and children Jake and Kara.