Mississippi State's new police chief is a 23-year law enforcement veteran who has spent much of his career at Purdue University.
The appointment of Tim A. Potts is pending formal approval by the Board of Trustees, State Institutions of Higher Learning. University officials said Potts is expected to begin his work May 15.
A Brookston, Ill., native, Potts has worked at the West Lafayette, Ind., public institution since 1997. As captain of patrol operations since 2003, he led and managed a division that included 30 officers and 12 dispatchers. He also was responsible for departmental training and coordination of security arrangements for athletic events, convocations and other special events.
Founded in 1869, Purdue is the flagship university of a six-campus system that enrolls nearly 40,000.
Before becoming a captain, Potts served as lieutenant of support services, sergeant of training and operations, and patrol/community policing officer. He earlier was a member of the West Lafayette police department and Monticello, Ind., sheriff's department.
Commenting on his new position, Potts said he was "humbled and honored by my selection to serve as the next police chief for the Mississippi State University Police Department. I am looking forward to listening to the students, staff, and faculty on issues important to them and working collaboratively.
"I am anxious to become part of the Bulldog family," he emphasized.
In addition to having graduated in 2005 from the FBI National Academy, Potts is a 1987 graduate of St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer, Ind., where he received a bachelor's degree in sociology with a social work concentration.
He expressed happiness that MSU's police department already holds accreditation with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. At Purdue, he was accreditation manager when the department began seeking its initial certification. He also has served as a CALEA assessor for other departments.
Bill Kibler, Mississippi State's vice president for student affairs, said safety and security of the campus community are the university's highest priorities.
"Our exceptional and nationally accredited police department is a critical component in assuring the safety of our campus," the veteran student affairs administrator said. "We are excited about Tim Potts as our new chief; he brings extensive experience and outstanding leadership abilities to our police department.
"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," Kibler said.
Dean of Students Thomas Bourgeois said he and other Division of Student Affairs administrators also are happy to have Potts join the MSU family.
"His personality and his wealth of experience in university law enforcement will be a benefit to an already excellent MSU police department," Bourgeois said. "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," Bourgeois said.
Potts also is an avid runner who has participated three times in the Boston Marathon. Additionally, he has been an ongoing volunteer with the Special Olympics program.
For information about the MSU Police Department, see www.police.msstate.edu.
Complete details about MSU are found at www.msstate.edu.