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Utah's campus police officers feel 'overburdened and understaffed,' study finds

BYU police decertified  (3).PNG
Utah’s higher-education system is implementing campus safety changes following the results of a study requested by state lawmakers. (KUTV file photo)

Utah’s higher-education system is implementing campus safety changes following the results of a study requested by state lawmakers.

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“Most institutions with campus police feel that they are understaffed and overburdened, and have difficulty recruiting officers due to the low pay,” the report presented by consulting company Cicero said.

Other concerns included a desire for statewide standardization, for example, on training.

Commissioner of Higher Education Dave Woolstenhulme said changes are already in the works, and funding requests may follow during the next legislative session.

Probably the thing that surprised me the most was just the lack of communication that’s probably there,” he said, “and I think it’s just because we’ve been operating too much in silos.”

He’d like better collaboration between agencies. University of Utah police could partner more closely with Salt Lake City police, for example.

“We know at times those lines get a little bit foggy if you will,” Woolstenhulme said, “and we need that cooperation so to have the police on campus, the municipal police on campus, at times so they understand what it’s like being on campus when those situations do come up.”

Jurisdictional confusion between campus police and city police played a role in Lauren McCluskey’s case. A man who the University of Utah student-athlete briefly dated killed her in 2018.

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