University of Utah names new chief safety officer
SALT LAKE CITY – The University of Utah announced the hiring of Keith Squires as the new chief safety officer on Wednesday.
Squires served as the interim chief safety officer since April of 2020 following the resignation of chief Marlon Lynch. Lynch resigned to take a similar position at Michigan State University, his alma mater.
“We are pleased to have such a seasoned public safety executive lead our campus safety initiatives,” said University of Utah President Taylor Randall in a news release. “Keith Squires brings a wealth of experience to this important job—both from his many years as Utah’s Commissioner of Public Safety, as well as his time helping to build our newly reimagined University Safety Department.”
The release went on to say that the new vision for the department includes reorganizing infrastructure and operations within the public safety department.
— UofU President (@PresidentUofU) January 5, 2022
“I’m honored to continue leading the University Safety Department,” Squires said. “This work involves going beyond historical policing. With the changes we are implementing, University Safety operations are becoming part of a holistic, transparent, and strategic effort that allows us to work genuinely with our campus community in creating an environment where everyone can feel safe with a sense of belonging. I’m confident that our continued innovations will demonstrate effectiveness and help serve as a model for others.”
The U committed to changes in the University Safety Department following the 2018 murder of student-athlete Lauren McCluskey.
Some of the changes made under Lynch and Squires include establishing new safety divisions, creating new safety committees, and developing a SafeU Student Ambassador program.
McCluskey called campus police several times about the problems she was having with her ex-boyfriend, Melvin Rowland. However, investigations into her case later showed officers didn’t take her concerns as seriously as they could have.
Rowland shot and killed McCluskey and hours later shot himself inside a Salt Lake City church.
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