In a newsletter published on the University of Utah’s website, the school announced they have reorganized the infrastructure of their Department of Public Safety under the direction of the new Chief Safety Officer, Marlon Lynch.
The University said some of the changes include the addition of new leadership and growth among their existing departments to better meets the needs of their community.
The University’s emergency management, security, dispatch, police services and the entire police department have been elevated to report directly to the Chief Safety Officer instead of the Chief of Police.
The police department will retain their victim advocate position and a new Community Services Division was created, led by their former victim advocate Jamie Justice. That division will work with the police and campus partners to support victims of crime, including sexual violence.
“We recognize that there are many aspects to individual safety, and we know that our work cannot happen in a silo,” Lynch said. “These changes will enhance our partnerships on campus, as well as with community agencies, in order to better serve our community.”
In addition to the changes, the University Police Department has a new command staff. The Emergency Management’s responsibility will be expanded to support travel safety and the communications center, along with the U Health Security moving into community clinics throughout the state.
Community Services will also support the university’s behavioral intervention efforts and the Threat Assessment Team, which is under development. A new building for these functions will be built in 2021.
Under the direction of the Chief Safety Officer, Annalisa Purser will direct the administrative unit that manages communications, marketing, strategic initiatives and budget planning.
Keith Squires, former Utah Commissioner of Public Safety, and who was on the team that conducted the independent review after the tragic murder of University of Utah student Lauren McCluskey in 2018, will serve as the executive officer. His focus will be on relationships with external public safety agencies and public safety committee management.
The University is currently recruiting for a new security and law enforcement technology director who will provide technical support to the department, oversee and manage the information technology infrastructure, and will maintain and develop law enforcement technology.
The Department of Public Safety will work with anyone who has direct responsibility for the safety of their students and staff.
“This is a transformational time,” Lynch said. “I am honored to be part of the foundational efforts in creating a culture of safety at the U.”