POLICE

University of Utah police chief on leave, deputy chief to assume duties

Dec 18, 2020, 8:58 AM | Updated: 5:37 pm
university of utah police chief rodney chatman placed on leave Police chief mccluskey...
PHOTO: Rodney Chatman, credit University of Utah

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The University of Utah is confirming their police chief is on administrative leave.

University of Utah police chief on leave

In an email to the KSL Newsroom Thursday night, University of Utah spokesperson Chris Nelson confirmed that Police Chief Rodney Chatman is now on leave. However, the University will not say why.

Deputy Chief Jason Hinojosa is managing the day-to-day operations of the police department in the meantime. 

The Utah Attorney General’s Office has also confirmed they are one of several agencies investigating Chief Chatman.

Jeremy Jones, an attorney in Salt Lake City, also isn’t sure why the chief was placed on leave. However, he says there are allegations that the chief did not have a Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certification before he took office, as Utah law requires. 

If true, that would mean he was not certified to perform law enforcement duties. 

Jones compares it to a Pennsylvania police officer pulling over Utahns in Utah. 

“It’s not appropriate for somebody to come in and act under the color of authority when they don’t, in fact, have that authority,” Jones says.  

Jones believes the University of Utah was aware of the allegations, but did not take action against Chatman. 

Chatman commissioned the investigation into Officer Miguel Deras, who was fired for sharing explicit photos of Lauren McCluskey. Deras is Jones’s client — however, he has not accused the chief of any wrongdoing. 

Lt. Nick Street with the Utah Department of Public Safety says Chief Chatman currently has POST certification. But he would not say when it happened because that information could become part of the Attorney General’s investigation.

History at the department

The University of Utah initially hired Chatman to be the police chief in January. He assumed those duties Feb. 17. Prior to coming to Salt Lake City, he served as executive director of public safety and chief of police at the University of Dayton in Ohio.

His position had been open at the university since former Chief Dale Brophy retired in October 2019.

Chatman has been reporting to Marlon Lynch, who is the University of Utah’s newly hired chief safety officer. Lynch’s position is one of thirty changes that were recommended by an independent task force after the murder of student-athlete Lauren McCluskey. 

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University of Utah police chief on leave, deputy chief to assume duties