University of Utah hires new Chief of Police

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The University of Utah has a new chief of police for the Department of Public Safety.

Rodney Chatman is currently in a similar role at the University of Dayton in Ohio. He is set to start at the U on February 17th.

The hire is another move the university has taken in its effort to improve campus safety after the on-campus murder of student Lauren McCluskey.

Related: U of U to invest nearly $1 million in campus safety

“My ultimate goal as chief is to build trust between the police and the community—staff, faculty and particularly students,” Chatman said. “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.”

Related: What changes has the University of Utah made since Lauren McCluskey’s death?

Jill McCluskey, mother of Lauren, sent ABC4 the following statement in regards to the hiring of Chatman:

We hope that Mr. Chatman vigorously addresses the need to transform the climate in the campus police department from the complacency that contributed to my daughter’s murder to full and urgent engagement of women in need, especially those at risk for relationship violence.

We also expect for the University of Utah to provide a clear explanation of the selection criteria that resulted in not selecting the female candidate when there have been serious problems in how women are treated by the campus police.

Female officers are underrepresented at the University of Utah, and studies have shown that increases in female officer shares are followed by significant reductions in rates of intimate partner homicide and non-fatal domestic violence.

Last month, the university announced they were hiring Marlon C. Lynch as chief safety officer. He will start on February 1st but was involved in Chatman’s hiring process.

“Chief Chatman has shown the ability to become a credible and trusted member of the communities that he has served,” Lynch said. “He has proven to be a quality leader of police personnel. Both traits will be assets as we move towards implementing the President’s Task Force.”

Click here for more on the President’s Task Force and its recommendations.

Chatman succeeds Dale Brophy, who retired in October 2019.

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