As we settle into the fall season, some fans are already anxiously awaiting the winter. That’s because WinterWonderGrass has just revealed a stacked lineup for their 2017 festival, packed with bluegrass favorites across the board. Taking place from February 23-26, 2017 in Steamboat Springs, CO, the lineup features top billings for Railroad Earth, Leftover Salmon, Elephant Revival and The Infamous Stringdusters.The full lineup continues with Sam Bush Band, Steep Canyon Rangers, Fruition, The California Honeydrops, Head for the Hills, The Lil’ Smokies, Brothers Comatose, Cabinet, Billy Strings, Grant Farm, Gipsy Moon, Dead Horses, Kitchen Dwellers and so many more!You can scope the newly-announced lineup posted below, and head here for tickets.
The Dept. of Public Safety has undergone some dramatic changes in the past year and officers say the rebranding will continue.Patrol scooter · A Dept. of Public Safety officer’s T-3 motion vehicle parked in front of the Ostrow School of Dentistry on Wednesday. – Joseph Chen | Daily TrojanBeginning Jan. 1, all armed DPS officers — those who are Police Academy-trained and can issue arrests — will begin wearing blue uniforms rather than the tan and green ones the department currently dons.John Thomas, who will mark the end of his first year as DPS chief this January, said blue uniforms are standard for law-enforcement agencies and thus easier to order. They also help create uniformity within the department and will feature an official USC Dept. of Public Safety patch as opposed to the current uniforms, which feature the university seal.“It’s really hard to get consistency when you have a two tone uniform with the green and the tan,” Thomas said. “One of the things that was important to me was that we as a department be perceived by students and the community in a more professional manner and I wanted to rebrand the department in such a way where when people see DPS officers they’re not seeing what they’ve become accustomed to because we’re going in a new and better direction, trying to be more customer-focused and community-oriented.”As part of his efforts to shift the role of DPS in the community, Thomas chose to add more supervisory personnel administrative staff and create two deputy chief positions at the beginning of this academic year.“When I was selected as chief, one of the things that was clear to me was that we needed to reorganize the department, but also in that reorganization we needed to add more administrative support and more supervisory oversight to our officers working in the field to provide,” Thomas said. “We want a better quality product for the people that we serve, which is primarily students.”Deputy chief John Adams previously worked at UCLA before beginning at USC this fall. Adams has worked closely with leadership on The Row to ensure that students safely engage in recreational activities and make an effort to drink responsibly. Adams meets with leadership from the Greek community every Monday to debrief and review incident logs from the previous week.“When I came on board, I saw the issue and went directly to those leaders in that area to talk with them on a regular basis and it’s worked out very well,” Adams said. “We have a nice mutually collaborative environment. I can get their opinions and bring them back to the chief.”With input from student groups, Thomas and Adams came up with the idea of a party response car, which is currently a group of three officers tasked with responding to all calls about parties or noise complaints.“We have designated these as the officers we expect are going to build a relationship [with students],” Thomas said. “They are going to be the ones that respond to noise complaints and loud music complaints and all those other issues so that students get used to dealing with the same individuals.”Thomas also emphasized the need to work with students on future measures.“The only way we’re going to be successful in this is if we put together policies that have student input,” Thomas said. “Students made it very clear that the administration can put together policies but if [students] don’t have a buy-in and it doesn’t make sense to them and it’s not collaborative, students are just going to find a way to go around it. We don’t want that — we want it to be successful, we want students to have a buy-in and a sense of knowing that we appreciate an respect their input.”Deputy Chief David Carlisle, a past captain of DPS, assumed his new position as part of the reorganization at the beginning of the school year. Carlisle said that this fall’s Thursday night football game — the first non-Thanksgiving regular season Thursday game in USC history — proved how out-of-hand parties can get when students do not comply with university policies.“The need for those types of dialogues and the improvement in policies and relationships was emphasized on our first Thursday night home game where the university said there would be no tailgating and yet there was unlimited tailgating on The Row,” Carlisle said. “It pointed out the fact that sometimes the message isn’t getting across and how things can get out of control in regards to obeying the rules of conduct here at the university.”Now that football season is over, however, officers will no longer be responsible for managing thousands of non-USC students on campus, in the Coliseum and in the surrounding neighborhoods. Thomas said he suspects and hopes that there will be fewer parties and alcohol transports in the spring semester. In this case, DPS could use its resources elsewhere, such as through adding another officer to the party response team or preparing more for spring events.“We immediately see students are buckling down and are more focused in a lot of ways toward what they have to do to graduate,” Thomas said. “But it’s busy for us on another front because we have to start planning for commencement and [the Los Angeles Times] Festival of Books and the Special Olympics this summer.”Though several large events are slated for spring, DPS has also seen an unusually large number of high-profile guests this fall, including former President George W. Bush, first lady Laura Bush, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Gen. David Petraeus, all of whom required increased security and collaboration with federal officers.Moving forward, DPS must also find a way to adapt to USC’s continuing plan for expansion of the university’s properties. USC recently acquired the Verdugo Hills Hospital in the Glendale area. Now, the hospital is looking to USC for public safety services in an area don’t they normally respond to.“That is a challenge in terms of personnel and in terms of communication such as radios,” Carlisle said. “As [USC] expands so may DPS’ role in providing the same level of service to those far away facilities.” Follow Kate on Twitter @km_guarino