Lifelong Jackson County resident Steven D. Lillard, a Gulf War veteran who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, is Western Carolina University’s new assistant chief of police.
A member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and a 1996 graduate of WCU with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, Lillard comes to the position from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, where he was operations major. He was also formerly a detective and criminal investigator with the Sylva Police Department.
“The university is fortunate to have Steve Lillard as part of its public safety team,” Ernie Hudson, WCU chief of police, said in announcing the appointment. “We conducted a comprehensive and exhaustive search for just the right person to fill this very important position. He is a proven and talented law enforcement professional who has much to offer the campus community. We are doubly pleased that our search landed practically in our own backyard.”
Lillard, who is working on his master’s degree in public affairs at WCU, began his duties as assistant chief Tuesday, July 5. He brings extensive administrative, operational and investigative experience to the position, and his ties to Jackson County law enforcement are a significant bonus, Hudson said.
“This strong connection to the local community and law enforcement will certainly enhance the working relationships between the university, our public safety partners and the residents of Jackson County,” he said.
Lillard is a member of several professional, fraternal and community organizations, and is active in local church and youth activities. He is a certified law enforcement instructor and also teaches at Southwestern Community College. He lives in Sylva with his wife, Lee; son, Drew; and daughters, Megan and Hannah.