University detectives arrest two involved in multiple catalytic converter thefts

University detectives recently conducted an extensive investigation of the theft of multiple catalytic converters on campus.

Detectives located the suspects who were in the process of committing another catalytic converter theft off campus.  2 suspects were taken into custody and arrested.

The successful conclusion was possible due to the timely report by victims and the diligent teamwork of the University Investigations Unit.  Great Job!!

USafety Ambassadors host Courageous Conversations Event

The Courageous Conversations topic for Spring Semester was discussing the University of Utah’s response to racist and bias incidents through the Racist and Bias Incident Response Team (RBIRT). Students were represented from various campus organizations, including Associated Students for the University of Utah (ASUU), Students for Action Focused Empowerment (SAFE), the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA), and Housing and Residential Education. The RBIRT representatives included co-chairs Annalisa Purser and Jason Ramirez, along with Special Assistant to the CSO Brian Nicholls and Officer Reuban Torres of the UUPD.

Students had the opportunity to share their experiences and perspectives on the RBIRT team. One student pushed for greater transparency and follow-up about recent incidents. Another student discussed the communication barriers that students face when reporting incidents, calling for more widespread awareness about RBIRT. Representatives from RBIRT shared their experiences with responding to the incidents and discussed the importance of empowering students to file reports through formal University channels. Furthermore, they discussed plans for cooperation with the anti-racism committee on efforts that would help the community heal from these incidents, as well as introduce preventative measures to create a safer campus environment.

At the end of the conversation, students expressed the importance of these dialogues in helping them better understand the RBIRT process, and create more awareness about reporting and communications for racial incidents. The RBIRT team encouraged students to continue providing feedback to the University Safety Department, since student feedback is necessary to improve RBIRT measures and ensure that student interests are being represented. Although the dialogue was challenging at times, this Courageous Conversation was a necessary part of continued efforts to bridge the gap between students and University Administration, with the goal of uniting to make the University of Utah a better, safer institution.

U Safety Organizational Changes

A message from Keith Squires, Chief Safety Officer

The University of Utah Safety Department (U Safety) is committed to creating a safe and empowered campus community. Achieving that mission requires a campus-wide commitment and a determination to continually improve. Today, we’re taking important steps to improve campus safety as we work towards national accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.

U Safety will add two senior-level positions: the Deputy Chief Safety Officer for Support Services and the Deputy Chief Safety Officer/Police Chief. These two roles will improve coordination, communication, and access to services, all while reducing costly overlap. We take this action after a careful examination of the valuable lessons learned in recent years. The hiring process will begin with a national search for the Deputy Chief Safety Officer for Support Services position and we will release an updated organizational chart once both hires are made.

Since taking the role of Chief Safety Officer two months ago, and based in-part on the insight I gained in my time as Interim CSO, I have recognized the importance of connecting U Safety with the rest of campus and improving our communication and coordination efforts. Our students interact with many departments during their University experience; we must redouble our efforts to ensure the excellent resources of U Safety are easily accessible and operating in a coordinated manner.

Strengthening our partnerships throughout campus also allows us to assist students, faculty and staff in a holistic way without duplicating efforts or inadvertently creating a complex maze for victims to navigate in order to access the help they need.

As we realign leadership roles within U Safety, we are strengthening the connection between our community support professionals and our peace officers. Doing so will help victims and survivors by designating a liaison to guide them through the investigation and prosecution phases, while also connecting them with available counseling and recovery resources.

Effective organizations depend on great personnel and we are fortunate to have some of the very best. One of those is Lt. Heather Sturzenegger whose leadership of the Investigation Division in the Police Department has been exemplary. She is the right choice to oversee our victim/survivor support services to ensure their work is integrated with all police services going forward.

These changes will improve our ability to provide a safe campus for students, faculty, staff and visitors as we continue to work toward achieving accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, which is recognized as the “gold standard” in public safety and requires meeting a set of professional standards that adhere to best practices related to health, safety, and security procedures.