‘I’m going to be visible’: How new U of U police chief plans to improve campus safety

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – A new police chief is in town following years of controversial incidents surrounding the University of Utah’s campus safety. Now, he said he’s ready to listen and create a positive change within the campus.

Accountability, transparency, and safety are three of the ways Rodney Chatman, the U’s new police chief, aims to create a safe campus environment.

“We want to be better each day than the day prior. And that’s what we’re gonna do,” Chatman said.

Chatman told ABC4 News he will be visible and engaged with students and faculty on the Salt Lake campus – as he believes it’s key to get rid of communication barriers.

The University of Utah’s new police chief Rodney Chatman smiles for a photo inside the Public Safety center on Wednesday, Feb. 19.

Aware of the challenges the university has faced in recent years about campus safety, Chatman said he plans to bring about change.

“They can accept what this narrative has been, or they can be part of the change and I’m gonna meet them where they are as we mentioned and give them every opportunity, they can interact with us,” Chatman said. “Our police department doors are open.”

Because Chatman and his department can’t see or be in every place or conversation each person has, he believes listening and taking appropriate action is how he can help.

“I want to find out what that mark is for the students. What is their sense of safety, what does it mean for them and how can we partner with them?” Chatman said.

With nearly 30 years of service in municipal and college policing (most recently the University of Dayton), Chatman said the future of U students and faculty is in good hands.

“[I’m] looking forward to this experience. I’m learning each day,” Chatman said. “I’m gonna ask everyone to be patient. But I’m gonna get out there, and you’re gonna see your police chief.”

Chatman was slated to begin Monday, Feb. 17, however, a snowstorm on I-80 slowed his travels, pushing his start date back to Wednesday.

For safety-related information, reporting or available resources at the U, click here.

What others are clicking on:

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.