SALT LAKE CITY – A new man at the top of the University of Utah Police Department. Rodney Chatman has been announced as the new Chief of Police after beating out 49 other candidates for the job.
Chatman is fully aware of all the negative press surrounding the department’s handling of the Lauren McCluskey case. He also knows her family is suing the university for $56 million. So, why would he want to join the department in the midst of all this turmoil?
“All of the turmoil represents opportunity,” Chatman says.
He says his main goal is to build trust between students and campus police and to try to convince the students he hears their concerns. He also says he wants to move past what he calls “past and present hurts.”
“You can’t effectively police a community that you’re not part of. You’ll hear me say that a million times, but that governs my philosophy and my approach to the job,” he says.
To do this, Chatman says he’ll be working closely with the Department of Public Safety to come up with a strategy that will make a positive and responsive culture.
Chatman says, “We need to be part of the entire campus process. The police department can’t be siloed from the rest of the campus.”
Currently, Chatman is the Chief of Police at the University of Dayton in Ohio. Before that, he was an officer at the University of Cincinnati. He believes there is a massive difference in enforcing the law on a city and policing a university campus.
“There is a special sensitivity you have to have with them and understand they are young and are going to make mistakes,” he says.
He officially starts his job on February 17th.
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