University News

Watts Named OPS Interim Director

March 14, 2019

Share |
Printer friendly version

MACOMB, IL -- Derek Watts, a lieutenant with Western Illinois University's Office of Public Safety (OPS), has been named interim director of the department, effective Saturday, March 16, according to Interim Vice President for Administrative Services Bill Polley. Watts replaces Scott Harris, who will retire March 15, after seven years of service.

Watts joined OPS in 1998 as a patrol officer. He was promoted to corporal in 2006 and to sergeant in 2009. A 1996 and 2015 graduate of the WIU School of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration, Watts was promoted to lieutenant in 2018. He started his law enforcement career with the Bushnell Police Department in 1996. Before joining the Office of Public Safety, Watts worked as a police officer for the Morton Police Department.

"Lt. Watt's years of law enforcement experience with the Office of Public Safety and his knowledge of Western will allow for a seamless leadership transition to continue moving the department forward," said Polley.

Watts has served as a RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) instructor since 1999. He has also served as the Office of Public Safety's Arrest and Control instructor since 2001 and Taser instructor since 2015. Watts has also served as an Illinois Police Corps Phase Manager in Summer 2002 and Summer 2003 and as an Illinois Police Corps arrest and control instructor (2001-2003). He is a graduate of the 2011-2012 Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command Class #323. Watts has served as an adjunct instructor in the WIU School of LEJA since January 2019.

The director of public safety serves as the chief law enforcement officer for the campus. The director provides leadership and oversight for ensuring a safe and secure environment and develops effective working relationships with individuals and organizations both on- and off-campus. Reporting directly to the vice president for administrative services, the OPS director provides senior level administrative oversight and responsibility for the administrative and operational functions of public safety, security and parking services.

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations