University of Utah reorganizes its public safety infrastructure

The University of Utah announced Monday a reorganization of its public safety infrastructure in order to improve campus security accountability.

Marlon Lynch, the University of Utah’s first chief safety officer, who took office in February, will oversee the university’s emergency management, health security and campus security divisions. These divisions and the UofU police chief Rodney Chatman will now report to Lynch.

The changes reflect steps the University of Utah has been taking to reestablish trust after the on-campus murder of student-athlete Lauren McCluskey in October 2018 and lingering questions about the public safety department’s handling of her repeated complaints prior to her death that she was being stalked, harassed and extorted by an ex-boyfriend.

The university also announced June 29, a new community services division is being created to help crime victims. Former Utah Department of Public Safety Commissioner Keith Squires is being hired by the university as an executive officer “focusing on relationships with external public safety agencies and public safety committee management.”

In addition, a new security and law enforcement technology director will be hired to provide technical support to the department as well as oversee technical aspects of the department.

“Policing is the most visible and has been a major part of public safety, but it’s not the only component of public safety. It also includes security, emergency management and victim services. These changes reflect the variety of needs of the public, while also ensuring the services are coordinated. Additionally, this model formalizes opportunities for campus involvement and oversight,” Lynch said.

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