King Takes the Helm of LMU Campus Police and Security

Campus Quad

Chief Christopher KingLincoln Memorial University (LMU) President Clayton Hess has named Assistant Chief of Police Christopher King as the new Chief of LMU Police and Security. King will replace departing Dean of Campus Safety Cesar Gracia, who is leaving to assume the chief of police position at East Tennessee State University.

King’s appointment is effective November 7, although the transition should be seamless as King has served alongside Gracia since 2017. In the assistant chief role, he coordinated communication and processes between LMU’s off campus learning sites and community organizations. Additionally, he was responsible for employee development, constituent relations, enlistment, leadership, training, performance evaluation, mentorship and regulatory compliance.

A lifetime resident of the region, King has 23 years of law enforcement experience including stops as a community corrections officer for the Third District Community Corrections in Sneedville, Tennessee; patrol officer and investigator with the Bean Station Police Department and lead investigator and chief deputy at the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office. He joined the LMU Campus Police and Security Department as the second in command in 2017 and has been integral to the department’s ascension in national rankings. The University was first recognized as the 24th safest campus in America in 2017; the 15th safest campus in America in 2018 and the safest campus in America in 2019 as ranked by the National Council for Home Safety and Security, Campus Safety Magazine and

“I am confident that Christopher King is the perfect person to step into Cesar Gracia’s shoes as he has served at his right hand for three years. He knows our campus, our students, this area and has worked with regional law enforcement for his entire career,” Dr. Hess said. “Both Cesar and Chris have dedicated significant portions of their careers to serving our community and building an outstanding police and security team at LMU.”

In his new role, King will oversee the LMU Police and Security department which includes a full time staff of approximately 26 personnel including, POST certified police officers, armed security guards, unarmed security guards, dispatchers and administrative staff. He also will continue to work closely with the contract security agency that serves LMU’s nine off campus learning sites.

The University remains committed to the continual assessment of safety risks through the Critical Incident Response Team, the Threat Assessment Team and the LMU Campus Police and Security and Department by continuing efforts to collaborate with local law enforcement agencies. The department has maintained a memorandum of understanding with the Claiborne County Sheriff’s Department since LMU transitioned away from simple security services to a police force with POST-certified officers supported by extensively trained dispatch staff in 2012. LMU maintains an emergency alert system through the app LiveSafe, an emergency siren to alert the community of public safety or weather-related emergencies, promotes a University-wide “See Something, Say Something” campaign and conducts training and educational programs for the university community throughout the year.

Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies.  The main campus is located in Harrogate, Tennessee. For more information about the undergraduate and graduate programs available at LMU, contact the Office of Admissions at 423-869-6280 or e-mail at

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