Steve Lillard, assistant chief since 2011, to lead WCU Police Department

Steve Lillard

Steven D. Lillard, assistant chief of police at Western Carolina University since 2011, has been named director of university police and chief of police at WCU. The appointment is effective immediately.

Lillard succeeds Ernest R. Hudson Jr., who retired from the position Jan. 31 following a career in law enforcement spanning more than 30 years. Lillard has been serving as interim chief of police following Hudson’s retirement.

“Chief Lillard possesses the educational background and professional experience necessary to serve as the top law enforcement officer for our university community,” Mike Byers, WCU vice chancellor for administration and finance, said in announcing the appointment. “In addition, the institutional knowledge he has from his role as assistant police chief at WCU will make for a seamless transition, and his years working in local law enforcement at both the municipal and local levels will enable us to continue our strong working relationships with our mutual aid partners.”

Prior to becoming assistant chief at WCU, Lillard served in the criminal investigations unit of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office for eight years, where he was responsible for the daily operation of the investigative staff while maintaining his own caseload, particularly in the areas of computer crimes, cyber-stalking, electronic harassment and sexual exploitation of minors. He also was a general crimes investigator for the Sylva Police Department from 1993 until 2003.

Lillard served as an active duty soldier in the military intelligence branch of the U.S. Army, and he has earned two degrees from Western Carolina University – a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in 1996 and master’s degree in public affairs in 2014.

“I am looking forward to stepping up to serve in this new capacity,” Lillard said. “The University Police Department plays an important role in protecting and serving the members of the university community and the many visitors who come to campus for the various events hosted here year-round. As a proud alumnus of this institution, I want to be sure that our department does all that it can to maintain our university’s reputation as a safe and caring environment for everyone.”