Former FBI Agent Evaluates U’s Announced Safety Investments

Aug 15, 2019, 6:44 PM | Updated: 8:14 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The University of Utah announced plans to invest nearly $1 million on new campus safety features. A security expert said some of the features will likely enhance safety, but some may not.

The university announced the investment based off new safety recommendations from the Presidential Task Force on Campus Safety.

The investment adds to the nearly $6 million already announced for campus safety in the wake of the murder of student athlete Lauren McCluskey on campus.

University officials said they were taking actions it hopes will help build a culture of safety.

MORE: Mother Of Slain Student Responds After U Announces Nearly $1M In Campus Safety Investments

KSL wanted to better understand what kind of difference that will make for the students, and spoke with former FBI special agent Greg Rogers, who has an eye for security.

Rogers, his wife and his three daughters are all graduates of the University of Utah.

He thinks some of safety actions announced by the university will make a difference in safety for students. Others, he said, will make little difference.

Students told the safety task force they wanted centralized evening classes and better parking close to buildings used at night. So, the university will make student parking available after 3 p.m. in lots next to the Marriott Library, the Eccles Library and the Student Union.

Evening classes will be clustered in five different neighborhoods on campus, not far from campus transportation, courtesy escorts and security patrols.

Eighty classes were moved to make that happen, a university spokesperson said. Some classes simply cannot be moved.

“If I were a parent looking at a university and saw that those things were going to be available, I’d be really happy about that,” he said.

Rogers also likes the availability of a van on demand for students who don’t like their other options for moving around campus safely.

“I think anytime you can get students back to their vehicles, back to the dorms, and they stay together in groups of at least two or more, those things are all very helpful,” said the former FBI agent.

Ultimately, Rogers said students and parents would likely make the university safer, but may not solve the problems revealed with McCluskey’s case.

“Is this going to change the structure on campus so that it will be safer for students? I think the answer is yes,” said Rogers. “There are some things in there that are going to be good. But, if you read it in light of, ‘Would it have made any difference at all in the McCluskey case?’ The answer is clearly no.”

Rogers said mistakes made in the McCluskey murder resulted from, “poor training, bad decisions, all made at the police department.”

He criticized the university for not upgrading training for the university police force.

“They need to concentrate their efforts on hiring a new chief who’s going to train his police officers to do not only basic police work, which wasn’t done in the McCluskey case, but train them to do it well,” said Rogers.

The agent’s advice to his daughters when they were on campus, or any students? Stay alert for trouble, but don’t live scared. If trouble arises, call 911.

“You need to be aware of your surroundings whether you’re walking across campus or you’re walking around downtown,” he said.

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Former FBI Agent Evaluates U’s Announced Safety Investments