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Utah Restructures Public Safety Dept. After 2018 Failures

June 30, 2020
 
 

The University of Utah has restructured its Department of Public Safety by reducing the chief of police's oversight over various safety services, such as emergency management and campus security, which will now fall under the leadership of the university's new chief safety officer, a June 27 university press release said. Utah also implemented a community services division that will support crime victims, and a victims’ advocate was also recently hired within the police department, according to KSL Newsradio.

The changes come after an independent review of the department following the 2018 murder of Lauren McCluskey, an athlete who contacted campus police several times to report harassment and abuse by her killer. The review found officers and other university officials failed to adequately respond and protect McCluskey.

Marlon Lynch, who was hired as the new chief safety officer in February, will oversee the public safety department. A new police command staff will build relationships with students, faculty and staff members, and the new community services division will support the university’s behavioral intervention efforts and the Treat Assessment Team, which is being developed, according to an official in the Office of the Chief Safety Officer. The university will begin construction on a new building to house the division at the end of the year.

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