“Every day is a training day, regardless of your tenure, title or scope of responsibility,” says the former Secret Service deputy director.
Not many members of the Jefferson community can say the safety of the President of the United States once fell under their purview. Now vice president of enterprise public safety and security, Keith Prewitt worked for the Secret Service for over 30 years.
Before retiring as deputy director in 2012, he oversaw the government agency’s daily operations, which comprised a 7,000-person workforce and $1.5 billion budget. President Barack Obama honored Prewitt in 2009 with the Distinguished Presidential Rank Award for exemplary federal senior executive service.
After leaving the Secret Service, Prewitt held security leadership positions at Comcast, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Los Angeles’ Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. He joined Jefferson in December 2022 and shares with The Nexus what he learned from his time at the agency, his future goals and more.
What are your primary duties as vice president of enterprise public safety and security?
I provide strategic management, guidance and oversight of the enterprise public safety department and functions. For Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Health and Jefferson Health Plans, that includes security force protection, investigations, intelligence, physical and technical security, emergency management, Jefferson Police, executive protection, environmental health/fire life safety, security operations center, and mission and security awareness training.
What lessons from the Secret Service can you bring to your current role?
Mission success is paramount. Embracing the concepts of proactive risk/threat mitigation. Developing a reputation for responsive, collaborative, respectful and constructive engagement with organizational stakeholders. Learning the organizational culture. And understanding that every day is a training day, regardless of your tenure, title or scope of responsibility.
What are some of your goals in developing and growing the public safety program?
Ensuring that the public safety team is operationally prepared and effectively trained to meet the constantly evolving threat environment associated with the healthcare and higher education verticals. This also means we must be in a better position to “self-perform” the security and police missions. We will primarily achieve this goal through the methodical, iterative strategic growth of the Jefferson Police/Security Department.
What are some of the biggest challenges in your position—and how do you plan to overcome them?
Our biggest challenges include federating the legacy security operations into an enterprise security responsibility; developing an enterprise security operations center, which will provide crisis security communications; identifying a consistent talent pool to recruit and hire Jefferson Police and Security; helping Jefferson stakeholders understand and embrace preventative security concepts; and leveraging accredited training and certification programs for public safety staff. To overcome these issues, we’ll strategically and methodically turn the challenges into opportunities.
What do you love most about your work?
I love learning more about the culture and mission of Jefferson; identifying creative ways for public safety to support the enterprise strategic plan; working with my colleagues to serve our students, faculty, staff and patients; and forging new internal and external strategic partnerships and alliances.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
When we engage as peers and stakeholders, we should constructively talk to each other rather than at one another.