Rus Drew leaving position as Columbus State police chief

Columbus State University Police Chief Rus Drew has held that position for 10 years.
Columbus State University Police Chief Rus Drew has held that position for 10 years. Special to the Ledger-Enquirer

Columbus State University Police Chief Rus Drew is leaving the post he has held for the past 10 years to take a similar position with Emory University in Atlanta.

It was a tough decision to leave CSU, Drew said on Tuesday.

“We have very much loved living in Columbus,” he said. “But Emory came at me pretty hard.”

Drew’s final day will be Oct. 31 and he will start at Emory on Nov. 1.

In 2015, Drew’s position paid $101,414, according to the Open Georgia website that includes salary information on state employees. His title with the university is assistant vice president for campus safety.

Maj. Chief Mark Lott, who has been with the department for about 10 years, will serve as interim chief, according to John Lester, an associate vice president and special assistant to the president. Drew turned in his notice on Monday and the university is still working out details for the upcoming search, Lester said.

“We are confident in Mark’s ability to lead the department in the interim,” Lester said.

CSU President Chris Markwood sent a note to staff on Monday announcing the resignation.

“This is an incredible opportunity for Rus, and we wish him well, but he will be greatly missed at Columbus State,” Markwood wrote. “He is respected around the state for his expertise and his style, and we're very fortunate to have had him here for 10 years.”

The responsibilities and the staff have grown since Drew was hired by former CSU President Frank Brown, especially with the downtown campus. More programs and dorm rooms have been added downtown.

Drew, 54, runs a 48-person department that has 27 sworn officers and works two campuses, the main campus in north Columbus and a growing downtown campus.

“The words Dr. Brown said at the time still ring in my ears,” Drew said. “He told me he was handing me a basket of eggs and we could not afford for any of them to get broken.”

The Columbus State University Police Department has worked closely for years with the Columbus Police Department. The two departments are independent of each other.

“I hate that we are going to lose him here in Columbus,” said Columbus Police Chief Ricky Boren. “He has done an outstanding job for CSU; and I am confident he will do an outstanding job at Emory. There is no question that our relationship with CSU would not has been as smooth without Rus.”

Chuck Williams: 706-571-8510, @chuckwilliams