Paine College Hires New Chief of Campus Safety

Posted by lsuggs | 03/8/2013 11:25 AM

(Augusta, GA)—Today, Paine College officials introduced the College’s new Chief of Campus Safety, Joseph D. Nelson to Paine College faculty, staff, and students who gathered to discuss the College’s campus safety measures.

Nelson comes to Paine College with more than 22 years of law enforcement experience.  Nelson’s work career began in 1988 where he joined the U.S. Army delayed entry program in Augusta, Georgia.  Upon graduating from Wren’s High School in 1990, he entered into Military Police School at Fort McClellan in Alabama where he was trained to enforce federal and military law.  He performed a variety of patrol duties and possessed a top secret security clearance during his active duty status for the U.S. Army.

In 1991, Nelson was sent to White Sands missile range where he performed law enforcement duties, served as personal security for the post commander and foreign dignitaries.  During that time, he earned a top secret security clearance.

In 1992, he transferred to Fort Bliss, Texas where he continued to perform patrol and law enforcement duties. 

He separated from the U.S. Army and embarked upon civilian life as a police officer for the Washington Police Department in 1993.  He was promoted to sergeant and became a patrol supervisor for the department.  Later in 1997, he became attached to the Drug Task Force and arrested and convicted street level drug dealers.

In 2000, he was promoted to Lieutenant and oversaw investigations for the Washington County Police Department where he managed all investigations in the city limits of Washington, Georgia and succeeded in reducing the drug activity.  During his tenure at the Washington County Police Department, he was responsible for over 1,000 drug arrests and drug convictions.  During that time, he received numerous accolades which include awards from the Governor’s Office, the State Senate and organizations such as M.A.D.D. (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) for outstanding Police work.  He was selected Police Officer of the Year by his co-workers twice. 

Nelson stated that he was always eager to perform his duties.  “I reported to work early and left late and always made sure that the jobs and tasks were completed and done correctly.”

Nelson returned to school and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Law with a Minor in Psychology.  He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Troy University. In 2007, Nelson earned his Master's degree in Criminal Justice.

In March 2010, Nelson served as Chief of Police in the City of Thompson, Georgia and was employed with the Waynesboro Police Department as Lieutenant over the Criminal Investigation and Crime Suppression Division. 

Nelson was active in numerous cases within the City of Waynesboro and was instrumental in reducing and suppressing drug activity with the city limits.  He arrested 23 drug dealers during the notable Operation Clean Sweep in Waynesboro.

Nelson’s plan is to grow the presence of campus safety at Paine College.  “The students’ safety is a priority,” said Nelson.

He is married to Kimberly Lavon Nelson and is the proud father of three children.

For more information on Paine College, please visit 

Or contact Leah Suggs in the Office of Communications & Marketing at (706) 821.8322, (803) 524.3195

Photo caption: Paine College new Chief of Campus Safety, Joseph D. Nelson.