Southern Miss names incoming police chief

Southern Miss names incoming police chief
Rusty Keyes, assistant chief of operations, will take over as police chief on July 1. (Photo source: WDAM) (Source: WDAM)

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The University of Southern Mississippi Police Department will soon have a new chief.

Rusty Keyes, assistant chief of operations, will take over as police chief on July 1 following the June 30 retirement of current Chief Bob Hopkins.

Hopkins has served as chief for two decades.

“The University of Southern Mississippi is committed to providing a safe environment that fosters our students’ growth and development as socially responsible citizens,” said University President Rodney D. Bennett. “I have witnessed Assistant Chief Keyes’ genuine care and concern for the health and safety of our student body, and I am confident his commitment to their success, coupled with his professionalism and strong record of experience building partnerships on campus, in the community, and with multiple stakeholders groups, positions him well to lead our University Police Department into its next chapter.”

Keyes is a Southern Miss alumnus who has served in law enforcement for nearly 30 years, including as a patrolman, narcotics officer, street crimes officer, detective and detective and patrol supervisor with the Hattiesburg Police Department, according to a USM news release.

“Assistant Chief Keyes’ expertise — in all facets of law enforcement — and his experience in community engagement will be critical as we continue our efforts to maintain a safe University community for our students, faculty, staff and guests on all of our campuses,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Dee Dee Anderson. “His experience has been a tremendous asset to the University of Southern Mississippi Police Department and the City of Hattiesburg. I look forward to his continued leadership in his new role.”

Keyes joined UPD in 2006 and became assistant chief in 2017.

“Our mission as part of the Division of Student Affairs is to work every day to foster a connected and healthy learning environment,” Keyes said. “We want students to come to Southern Miss, get their education and graduate feeling safe and secure. We want faculty and staff to come to work every day with a feeling of safety. It is an honor to be named chief of police, and under my command UPD will always put the community first.”

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