Chief Steve Thompson arrived at Sidwell Friends School nearly 28 years ago - a critical time in the school’s history. Steve, who had retired from the Metropolitan Police Department, brought to Sidwell an unprecedented level of professionalism and stability within a department that had historically been overseen by the Business Office and was fairly loose and disorganized. Before his arrival, the school community saw security officers more as an extension of the maintenance team and Steve was challenged with the responsibility of creating a team that was recognized as trained professionals, focused on protecting both the faculty and students as well as two large open campuses - one in the District of Columbia and one in Maryland. As a Quaker school, the officers were trained by Steve to be firm but respectful, kind but intentional. In less than two years, his presence at the school had transformed the reputation and responsibilities of his team. Under his leadership, Security at Sidwell was expanded to 24-hour, 7 day a week coverage and an overall team of nearly 20 officers in any given year.
Steve spent his career at Sidwell Friends educating his officers as well as the Sidwell community on a wide variety of safety protocols. He introduced programs to educate students at all grade levels about ways to ensure their personal safety. He supported the installation of state-of-the-art cameras throughout the school to provide enhanced campus wide coverage. When the Clintons came to Washington in January of 1993, Steve's responsibilities increased significantly to include interfacing with the Secret Service detail assigned to protect Chelsea while she was a student at the school. He was the liaison with the Secret Service again during the Obama era with the four Secret Service details on campus supporting Malia, Sasha and the Biden grandchildren.
Coordinating major events with the First Family and the Vice President and Mrs. Biden required an intimate working knowledge of the school’s facilities. But Steve had a team in place who could successfully support those programs.
Finally, Steve had a reputation at school for his love of three things - his family, cars, and women's basketball. He has always talked about his family and their accomplishments; he chose to get the car of his dreams which he drove with great pride and wide smiles; and he watched the SFS basketball team with the same enthusiasm that he did with the Mystics - Steve was a season ticket holder for years!
Steve, thank you for your service to Sidwell, your commitment to high standards of excellence and your devotion to the faculty, staff, and students! We wish you the very best in your retirement!