Fingerprinting services are reopened

In order to support students, graduates and employees who work in fields that require fingerprinting, such as teaching, law and medicine, the University of Utah Campus Security division is re-opening its fingerprinting service on Monday, Feb. 22, by appointment only.

To protect visitors and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, the following changes have been made to the fingerprinting process:

Appointments are required:

  • To schedule, users should use Calendly.
  • 30-min appointments are available.

Safety precautions:

  • Individuals must wear a mask to enter the building and during the appointment
  • Guest temperatures will be checked at the door before being permitted to enter the building
  • Physical distance of at least six feet will be maintained throughout the appointment
  • Appointments will be scheduled to allow time for cleaning and sanitation between visitors

This service is offered in the University of Utah Public Safety building, 1735 E. South Campus Drive.

More information is available here.

In-person classes before 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, are cancelled due to expected weather conditions

The following is a safety message for our campus community

[Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021 | 10:40 pm]

In-person classes before 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, are cancelled due to expected weather conditions. Instructors who can move their in-person classes online are encouraged to do so and should communicate directly with their students about any changes. The delayed start will not impact online classes or campus employees already working remotely.

While campus remains open, staff should check with their immediate supervisors for more information about their individual units and departments. The U’s health care system and hospitals will remain open, as will essential university functions, supported by mandatory on-campus employees. University-operated childcare facilities will provide updates directly to families.

The university is watching the situation closely and will make updates as necessary.

Updates at alert.utah.edu.

University Safety launches five-year strategic plan

University of Utah Safety recently launched a five-year strategic plan to guide safety efforts into the future and provide a foundation for the growing and evolving department. Developed by representatives from across U Safety, the plan outlines a new vision and mission statement, as well as strategic goals that align with those of the institution.

  • Vision: Uniting for a safe and empowered campus community
  • Mission: University Safety cultivates a safe environment by:
    • Uniting with the campus community to implement safety programs that meet our community needs
    • Respectfully empowering students, faculty, staff, patients, and visitors with education, training, and resources
    • Listening to the needs to the campus community with compassion
    • Advocating for underserved populations
    • Fulfilling our responsibilities with integrity, transparency, and accountability
  • Strategic goals:
    • Achieve operational excellence
    • Strengthen trust with the community
    • Invest in talent development and plan for the future

We take our responsibility to lead campus safety efforts seriously, but we also know it takes all of us to truly create an environment where everyone feels safe, welcomed and respected,” said Annalisa Purser, director of administration for U Safety. “This plan focuses on partnering with the campus community to foster a safe environment where all individuals feel empowered and equipped to succeed in their work, medical caregiving, education, and other business with the university.”

The plan was reviewed by the Public Safety Advisory Committee and will be updated regularly. More information is available on the University Safety website. 

Each of the three strategic goals includes a set of objectives, strategies and action plans, which provides structure and consistency while also allowing flexibility for updates as situations and circumstances change.  

Goal 1: In order to achieve operational excellence, the plan prioritizes developing, growing, and innovating program and service offerings; improving business processes and systems to ensure consistency and increase efficiencies; and focusing on professional standards. To this end, a new Community Services division was established and has already grown from one to three employees, who are all social workers. A new administrative team was created to manage and coordinate business processes across the department, and a new position was created in 2020 to oversee the department’s accreditation and compliance efforts. 

Goal 2: To strengthen trust with the campus community, the department is committed to community service and engagement, strengthening accountability and transparency and supporting students and community education and development. This includes efforts such as creating the Independent Review and Public Safety Advisory committees, hosting Presidential Interns and involving them in policy development and the accreditation process, establishing a SafeU Ambassador program and providing community workshops, such as the Workplace Violence Prevention training that is given to all first-year nursing students.  

Goal 3: Investing in talent development and planning for the future involves enhancing professional development and training, as well as recruiting, hiring, and retaining individuals who support the department’s mission and represent the diversity of the community it serves. Some efforts to accomplish this include joining and maintaining memberships with professional organizations, including those focused on supporting and elevating underrepresented groups in the public safety profession; updating internal department awards and recognitions to reflect the new vision and mission; participating in the Intercultural Development Inventory to better understand cultural differences and responses to these differences and develop action plans for increasing intercultural competence; and ensuring employee evaluations reflect the department’s values. 

Some additional action items to be addressed during the next five years include:

  • Updating internal policies to adhere to accreditation standards and to meet the unique needs of the University of Utah community 
  • Implementing an early warning system to address concerning behaviors
  • Earning accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) and the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA)
  • Expanding U Health Security into regional health clinics in order to ensure all U Health employees and visitors receive the same level and standards of protection
  • Developing and launching a new safety app to provide additional services and features to the campus community
  • Launching a new records management system that will improve information sharing among law enforcement agencies and allow the department to share data about police interactions on campus
  • Expanding Emergency Communications services to improve police response and provide more immediate crisis support
  • Creating an improved process for receiving feedback from the community and ensuring a consistent and thorough investigation and response
  • Implementing a body-worn camera program for University Police
  • Updating internal policies in order to comply with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Standards for Certification on Use of Force and Safe Policing for Safe Communities
  • Joining the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) One Mind Campaign to improve response to those affected by mental illness
  • Making information housed in the Annual Security Report more easily accessible by updating important safety information on the SafeU website
  • Serving as a practicum site for students from the College of Social Work to both increase capacity and provide valuable real-world clinical experience to students 

About University Safety 

In 2019, the U created a new Chief Safety Officer (CSO) position, filled by Marlon C. Lynch on Feb1, 2020. In this inaugural role, he restructured public safety functions at the U, including adding new leadership positions, elevating and growing existing divisions, as well as creating new ones to increase capacity, improve accountability, and better meet the needs of the U community. Instead of all units reporting through the chief of police, all divisions are now separate and report directly to the CSO. This includes U Health Security, Campus Security, Emergency Services, University Police and the new Community Services division. 

CSO Lynch also built a centralized team that supports the entire department and is responsible for strategic initiatives, communication and marketing, budget planning, relationships with external public safety agencies, public safety committee managementsecurity and law enforcement technologies, community engagement and evaluating and improving the campus climate related to safety and inclusion. 

Reported sexual assault – Feb. 4

U OF U ALERT: FINAL UPDATE ON REPORTED SEXUAL ASSAULT

[Friday, February 5, 2021 | 4:39 pm]

University Police are continuing to investigate the reported sexual assault from earlier this week. Based on the investigation at this point, evidence suggests that there is no imminent threat to the campus community. In alignment with trauma-informed investigative techniques and in order to best support and respect the victim, cases like this are handled with sensitivity and can take time. This will be the last update on this case unless information impacting the safety of the campus community becomes available.

U Safety continues its vigilant patrolling across campus. Courtesy escorts (main campus: 801-585-2677; hospital: 801-581-2294) and the SafeRide program remain available to campus community members.


U OF U ALERT: UPDATE ON REPORTED SEXUAL ASSAULT

[Thursday, February 4, 2021 | 11:54 am] UPDATE ON INVESTIGATION

U Police continue to investigate last night’s reported sexual assault, and police are following up on leads. To be clear, the victim is not affiliated with the University of Utah. A healthcare worker took the report and submitted it to U Police on behalf of the victim. The specific location on campus where the assault was reported to have occurred is still unknown. A University Safety crisis support specialist continues to support the victim. An update will be provided on Friday, Feb. 5, unless new information becomes available sooner. To respect the privacy of the victim, who is a minor, available information will be limited. 

U Safety continues its vigilant patrolling across campus. Courtesy escorts (main campus: 801-585-2677; hospital: 801-581-2294) and the SafeRide program remain available to campus community members. 


Reported sexual assault - Feb. 4

On Thursday, February 4, 2021, just after midnight, the University of Utah Police Department received a delayed report of a sexual assault that occurred on campus between 8:30-9:30 p.m. on February 3. The report came from a University of Utah healthcare worker to the police. The victim was on their way to meet someone on campus and reported that two unidentified males approached from behind a dumpster and proceeded to sexually assault the victim. The victim is not affiliated with the university. University Safety crisis support specialists are working with the victim. Police are continuing to investigate the situation and anticipate providing an update to the campus community before noon on February 4.

Description of the persons of interest:

There are no additional details about the persons of interest available at this time.

Prevention and Safety Tips:

This safety warning is being issued as part of the University of Utah’s efforts to provide timely notifications about serious or ongoing threats to the campus community. While it may be distressing to learn about this incident, it is being shared so you can best protect yourself. Responsibility for a crime lies with the person committing it; however, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk of experiencing crime. Please remember:

  • If you or someone you know is a victim of interpersonal violence, call the LINK line at 1-800-897-LINK (5465) or visit the Center for Excellence in Women’s Health website.
  • Consent is required for all sexual interactions. Consent cannot be granted if a person is under the influence of alcohol, coerced, or under duress or force. If you are unsure if a person wants to engage in sexual behavior, DO NOT DO IT.
  • Coercion includes “wearing a person down” until they say yes. This is not consent.
  • The vast majority of sexual assault occurs between two people who know each other. Usually victims of sexual assault know, and sometimes trust, the person who hurt them.
  • If you notice one of your friends ignoring another person’s boundaries, remove your friend from the situation and tell them their behavior is not OK.
  • If you’re meeting someone new, let others know when and where you’re meeting and plan to meet in a public setting. Trust your gut if anything feels off.
  • Use the U’s SafeRide program or a courtesy escort (main campus: 801-585-2677; University Hospital: 801-581-2294) to get around campus.
  • Let a family member or friend know when you’re going somewhere and your estimated time of arrival or return. This allows them to notify police as quickly as possible if there is a problem.
  • If you feel uneasy, leave the area. Go to a safe location and notify University Police at 801-585-2677, or in case of an emergency, dial 911.
  • Take care of one another and consider stopping and being present until help arrives in situations where someone may be experiencing harm. The person causing harm may stop if other people are around.
  • Report any suspicious activities to University Police at 801-585-2677. Be prepared to provide as many details as possible.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and avoid distractions, especially when walking alone. Try to avoid isolated or dark areas. Walk in groups whenever you can—there is safety in numbers.
  • If a person approaches you in a way that makes you uncomfortable, maintain a distance and be observant; if they are in a vehicle, get the license plate number, make, model, color, and any additional identifiers, such as damage to the vehicle and direction of flight, if possible.

Support and Resources

Updates will be posted at alert.utah.edu.

University of Utah statement on Marlon Lynch

Chief Safety Officer Marlon Lynch has announced he will be leaving the University of Utah at the end of March to accept a similar position at his alma mater Michigan State University. Keith Squires, former Utah Commissioner of Public Safety and currently Lynch’s executive officer, will serve as interim CSO.

“It is with mixed emotions I leave Utah,” Lynch said. “This new opportunity was unexpected, and my decision was not an easy one to make. In addition to enabling me to be closer to my family, I have deep connections to MSU, which is my alma mater and an institution attended by a number of my family members.

“Over the past year, my team has accomplished amazing work on an extremely fast track, restructuring safety operations in a way that positions the university to carry this momentum well into the future and achieve a true transformation of safety on our campus,” Lynch said.

Read Lynch’s full statement.

Lynch was named as the U’s chief safety officer in December of 2019 and formerly served in top law enforcement and safety positions at New York University, Vanderbilt University, University of North Carolina at Charlotte and North Carolina A & T State University in Greensboro. Lynch will be the inaugural vice president for public safety and chief of police at MSU, reporting to the president and serving as an active member of the president’s leadership team. The position is responsible for the overall planning, development and implementation of a comprehensive and dynamic public safety and law enforcement program at Michigan State University.

“We’re disappointed to be losing Marlon but wish him the very best in this new role,” said Cathy Anderson, the university’s chief financial officer. “Marlon is a nationally recognized campus safety expert, so it comes as no surprise that he is highly sought after. During the year he has been with us he has transformed our university’s public safety functions that traditionally reported through the chief of police.

“The new divisions and oversight committees he created have helped foster improved collaboration across campus and have resulted in dramatic improvements in the way services are provided to our campus community,” Anderson said. “These are lasting changes that establish a solid foundation for future innovation and growth.”

In addition to his work at the U, Lynch has played an important role as an advisor on campus safety for the Utah Board of Higher Education and as chief safety officer for the Utah System of Higher Education. In this role, he has helped facilitate a system-wide campus safety study to help identify and establish best practices at all state colleges and universities in Utah.

Anderson will direct the search for Lynch’s replacement, which is expected to begin later this year following appointment of a new university president. During the search that resulted in Lynch’s hiring, the recruiting firm representing the U received interest from more than 80 initial applicants. From that group, 16 candidates—13 men and three women—were forwarded to the U’s search committee for consideration. Ultimately, four candidates were brought to campus for meetings, interviews and public forums with students, staff and faculty, who were invited to provide feedback on each individual. Anderson said a similar process will be followed during the next search.

“Marlon set the bar high as our inaugural chief safety officer, transforming the way we manage safety on our campus,” said President Ruth V. Watkins. “He achieved meaningful change and has put us on the right track to be a national model of campus safety.”

The hiring of a cabinet-level chief safety officer was among one of the most significant and visible investments made to campus safety by Watkins. Lynch moved quickly after joining the U in making changes to the public safety infrastructure with the goal of increasing capacity, improving accountability and transparency and moving safety efforts forward to best serve the U community. For the latest updates from University Safety, visit the University Safety news webpage.

Campus safety improvements implemented under Marlon Lynch

  • Immediately after joining the U, Lynch restructured public safety functions at the university. Instead of all units reporting through the chief of police, all divisions are now separate and report directly to the chief safety officer. These include U Health Security, Campus Security, Emergency Services, University Police and a newly created division called Community Services.
  • In addition to the five operational divisions, Lynch created a new, centralized administrative Office of the Chief Safety Officer, which is responsible for the department’s strategic initiatives, strategic communication and marketing, relationships with external public safety agencies, public safety committee management, community engagement and security and law enforcement technologies. The office provides staffing and leadership for the Racist and Bias Incident Response Team, the Clery Compliance Committee, as well as the campus Surveillance System Administrators Committee.
  • The Community Services division has already grown from one to three employees and will continue to expand its services. These employees are social workers and are working to develop and implement a joint response and independent services for victims and mental health crises. It has also been approved as a practicum site for Master of Social Work students, which will allow it to both increase capacity and provide valuable real-world clinical experience to future social workers. This is in addition to the Victim-Survivor Advocates who are part of the U’s Center for Student Wellness. Currently, its crisis support specialists work in tandem with police and campus partners to support victims of all crimes and are available 24/7.
  • Two new public safety oversight committees also were established this year—a Public Safety Advisory Committee and an Independent Review Committee. They are comprised of students, faculty and staff from across the institution and are designed to ensure a broad representation of constituents are included in public safety decision-making.
  • University Safety is working toward achieving accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. The process is expected to take 36 months and should be completed by late 2023.
  • The Office of the Chief Safety Officer also has invested in communication, including a new website for University Safety that includes news and updates from across the different divisions, data and information about the Annual Safety Reportcampus alerts, a crime log and more.  A new records management system, to be implemented later in 2021, will allow the team to provide additional real-time data and trends about safety incidents.
  • Under Lynch’s guidance, a new public safety building (including improved workspace for providing victim support) was designed and is expected to open before the end of 2021.

University of Utah Safety launches SafeU Ambassador program

University of Utah Safety is now accepting applications for its new SafeU Student Ambassador program—a year-long paid leadership opportunity focused on safety-related projects on campus.

The inaugural program, beginning in fall 2021, will include a small group of students interested in improving campus safety, gaining leadership experience and interacting with staff and officials at the U. As a SafeU Ambassador, students will have the opportunity to represent student concerns while gaining a unique perspective on public safety in higher education.

“This new program focuses on partnering with students to improve community engagement and inform the development and evolution of public safety functions at the U,” said U Safety Director of Administration Annalisa Purser. “It is an integral part of the updated mission for University Safety, which focuses on uniting with the campus community to implement safety programs that meet community needs."

The program was developed during fall 2020 by Presidential Interns Sabah Sial and Alvin Tsang. To inform the program, the interns met with program managers for existing ambassador and internship programs on campus, student groups at the U, as well as a student who started a similar program at another university.

To learn about the distinct needs of various communities at the U related to safety, Sial and Tsang met with a variety of student organizations and identity-based groups, including the American Indian Resource Center, the LGBT Resource Center, Housing & Residential Education and more.

“This is a great opportunity for students to be heard and to work on meaningful projects focused on the themes of physical safety and belonging,” Sial said. “It is the perfect fit for any student who is interested in safety and wants to be part of change.”

University Safety is accepting applications through Monday, March 15. A selection committee plans to conduct interviews in March. Questions may be directed to U Safety Director of Administration, annalisa.purser@utah.edu, or to U Safety Administration Manager Nancy Rubio, nancy.rubio@utah.edu.

U Rising” podcast with President Ruth V. Watkins

In March, Annalisa Purser, director of administration in the Office of Chief Safety Officer, along with Sabah Sial and Alvin Tsang, presidential interns who’ve spent the past year working in the office, were invited to share about the Safe U Ambassador program on the “U Rising” podcast with President Ruth V. Watkins. Don’t miss it!

Announcement from CSO Marlon Lynch

Dear Colleagues:

It is with mixed emotions that I share with you that I will be leaving the University of Utah to accept a position as the inaugural vice president for public safety and chief of police at Michigan State University.

This new opportunity was unexpected, and my decision was not an easy one to make. In addition to enabling me to be closer to my family, I have deep connections to MSU, which is my alma mater and an institution attended by a number of my family members. I will step down at the end of March 2021.

In the interim, Keith Squires has agreed to serve as the chief safety officer. Keith is a great leader and fully invested in our mission, which will ensure a steady course in the months ahead. The search for a new chief safety officer will begin after a new president is named, likely in the fall. I will continue working with the U in a consulting capacity during this transition.

In the year we have had together, we have accomplished amazing work on an extremely fast track, restructuring safety operations in a way that positions the university to carry this momentum well into the future and achieve a true transformation of safety on our campus.

I am particularly appreciative of the talent, dedication, and passion each of you brought to building something new and extraordinary at the U — a safety department that I have no doubt will be a model in structure and oversight for other campuses. You are an incredible team. I know that because of your commitment this vital work will continue with no pause in advancing the university’s safety goals.

I am grateful for the support I received from each one of you, from students, staff, and faculty at the U, and from the administration. Safety has been, and will always be, a top priority at the U, which highlights the importance of the work each one of you is doing.

Please reach out directly to me if you have additional questions. I want to close by again saying how much I have enjoyed working with you and to thank you for your hard work.

Marlon C. Lynch
Chief Safety Officer
University of Utah