The University of Utah’s efforts to prioritize, elevate and reimagine safety inspired me to re-engage in public safety service after three decades in state law enforcement. I am honored to serve as the chief safety officer at this time of self-reflection, creativity and transformation in campus safety.

Our effort requires going beyond historical policing. I am committed to increasing capacity, improving communication and strengthening professional standards. We have established new safety committees and developed a SafeU Student Ambassador program. New safety divisions and a centralized administrative office guide our strategic initiatives, campus partnerships and relationships with external public safety agencies. I am confident that our continued innovations will demonstrate effectiveness and help serve as a model for others.

I have always been passionate about public safety and service and look forward to leading with respect and empathy. After 31 years in law enforcement—working as a homeland security advisor to two governors, leading the Utah Highway Patrol and State Bureau of Investigation, and serving as commissioner of Public Safety for the state of Utah — I know that the future of public safety depends on listening to the community. We must be open to doing our work differently, acknowledging our difficult past and holding ourselves accountable to it.

Our team remains dedicated to earning the U community’s trust and partnering with you to create a safe and welcoming campus where everyone feels accepted and empowered to succeed. With the changes we are implementing, University Safety operations are becoming part of a holistic, transparent and strategic effort that allows us to work together to build an environment where everyone can feel safe with a sense of belonging.


Keith Squires

Chief Safety Officer

University of Utah





Key Initiatives


The U is seeking accreditation through both the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), as well as the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA). CALEA accreditation is recognized as the “gold standard in public safety” and requires that agencies meet an established set of professional standards and best practices. The accreditation process began in early June 2020 with enrollment in the CALEA program and is expected to take approximately 36 months and should be completed by mid-2023. IACLEA accreditation builds on this with a few additional requirements specific to higher education and will occur immediately after CALEA accreditation is achieved.

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Construction on a new public safety building began in late February 2021. The one-story building will be located on 500 South, east of Guardsman Way, and will replace the existing public safety facility originally built in 1948. The 24,000-square-foot building will be accompanied by a 2,500-square-foot ancillary/storage building and a secured parking area. It will house the university’s public safety functions, including a state-of-the-art Communications Center, an emergency operations center built to certifiable specifications, and interview rooms and property and evidence rooms will be built to maintain the integrity of those processes.

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The department developed a five-year strategic plan to guide University Safety efforts over the coming years. A group of representatives from across the department began meeting regularly in June 2020 to create a plan that outlines the vision, mission, objectives, strategies, and action plans that provide a foundation for the growing and evolving department and direct its efforts into the future.

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The U’s Campus Alert System is designed to reach everyone on campus in the best way possible during an emergency. Most alerts are sent via email. On rare occasions, when every second counts, emergency messages will be sent via text to cell phones. To sign up to receive text notifications, log into CIS and click on the Campus Alert link. Students, faculty, staff and even visitors can also be alerted of emergencies using the U Heads Up app.

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The Chief Safety Officer has created new committees and is revitalizing existing ones. These committees include students, faculty, and staff and ensure broad representation is included in public safety decision-making. The new Public Safety Advisory Committee explores policies, training requirements, and diversity strategies. The Independent Review Committee reviews citizen complaints of abusive language, violations of rights, excessive force, and dereliction of duty brought against public safety personnel. Following internal affairs reviews, this committee will be able to comment on policies and recommend procedural and communication changes.

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U of U ALERT: Suspects sought in early morning break-in

January 3, 2023

In response to the incident police are increasing patrols in the area and will be continuing to support those impacted.

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Working towards gender equality

December 2, 2022

The U currently has over 10% female sworn officers and 33% women in leadership.

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Update on housing incident

November 20, 2022

Police detained and questioned three student residents involved in the incident.

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    We are committed to continuous improvement and to creating a safe environment that meets the needs of the U community. Please share your feedback with us. This information is received by the Office of the Chief Safety Officer, which serves as the central administrative unit for all public safety functions, including University Police, Community Services, Emergency Management, Emergency Communications, Campus Security, and U Health Security.

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