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U of U explains decision to place Chatman on leave

Posted at 9:02 PM, Dec 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-21 18:45:10-05

SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah confirmed Friday night that Chief of Police Rodney Chatman has been placed on leave and is currently under investigation by the Utah State Attorney General's office.

In a statement, university Chief Safety Officer Marlon Lynch says that while personnel matters are usually kept private, the public nature of his actions regarding Chatman left too much speculation.

"...I believe it is in the interest of transparency and our commitment to earning the trust of our campus community to clarify and provide context for this decision." said Lynch.

Lynch said Chatman, who was hired in February, was given a year to complete Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training certification (POST) that is required of all police directors in the state. However, despite having nearly three months remaining until the deadline, Lynch does not explain why he felt the need to place Chatman on leave.

As he was making the decision on Chatman, Lynch said he was made aware of allegations against the school's Chief of Police and the state's investigation into "criminal matters."

"This is a serious matter and I have expressed the university’s intent to cooperate fully in the AG’s investigation." said Lynch.

Lynch says it would be difficult for Chatman to maintain active POST certification while he is being investigated.

Despite the move to place Chatman on leave, Lynch shared his appreciation for his Chief of Police and the work he has already done on campus.

"He has helped me build a positive, responsive culture and to reorganize the department strategically to improve transparency, accountability and effectiveness.

"I have no doubt that Rodney has a personal dedication to keeping the public safe and is passionate about positively influencing the lives of our campus community."

Chief Chatman came to the University of Utah from Dayton, Ohio. His hiring was seen as a significant step as the U improved its approach to safety following the campus murder of Lauren McCluskey.