University of Utah announces new campus police chief

University of Utah announces new campus police chief

(Photo courtesy of the University of Utah)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Rodney Chatman has been selected as the new police chief for the University of Utah Department of Public Safety, the U. announced Thursday.

Chatman currently serves as chief of police at the University of Dayton in Ohio, according to a news release from the University of Utah. He will assume that role at the U. on Feb. 17 and will report to Marlon C. Lynch, the university’s new chief safety officer.

“Rodney is an experienced law enforcement leader who has a deep understanding of campus policing,” U. President Ruth V. Watkins said in the release. “He is committed to best practices, community engagement and relationship building and is the ideal candidate to lead and guide change in our Department of Public Safety. Rodney is particularly recognized for effectiveness in building partnerships with students to enhance safety.”

Chatman succeeds former U. police chief Dale Brophy, who retired in October after serving in the role since 2015.

Chatman’s hiring is the latest development in the ongoing saga of safety at the University of Utah following the October 2018 on-campus slaying of student Lauren McCluskey.

The university faced criticism for the state of student safety on campus after her death, and U. officials have made widespread efforts to improve safety for students, including hiring Lynch and implementing new safety measures and policies.

The U. hired an outside search firm, which combed through over 50 applicants for the police chief position, according to the release. The firm presented 14 candidates to the university’s search committee, which then interviewed six applicants before narrowing the field down to three finalists, the release said.

Chatman was then selected after the three finalists participated in December forums on campus and met with some campus stakeholders, the release said.

“My ultimate goal as chief is to build trust between the police and the community — staff, faculty and particularly students,” Chatman said in the release. “It will be vital to hear specific concerns and understand what success looks like from their perspective. Students need to know that the police chief wants to hear their voice and wants to begin the process of healing from past and present hurts.”

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