University of Utah Chief of Police Open Forums

The University of Utah held open forums on December 11–13th for the three finalists brought in to replace Chief Brophy as the Chief of the University of Utah Police Department. The University of Utah made the decision to host these open forums during finals week, a time when most students would be unavailable to attend these events. This role is arguably one of the most critical roles in reestablishing student trust and transforming the culture of the University of Utah Police Department. With only one student on the search committee, ASUU Vice-President of Student Relations Gabe Martinez, the committee has had very little student input in the hiring process for the new Chief of Police. The open forums served as the only point in the process where students had an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback on this critical hire. The University floundered its responsibility to appropriately schedule and transparently advertise these forums. We have been calling for an increase in transparency across the university — this event highlights just how far we still have to go and why this is a priority for UnsafeU.

The survey for candidate feedback was originally only going to be open until Monday, December 16th at 5pm. We reached out to the search committee and they responded:

“we will start our analysis of our survey tomorrow morning so our preference is to have most responses in by then. However, in order to include as much student feedback as possible, we will keep the survey open for additional responses through 5pm on Thursday, December 19th and incorporate in any feedback that comes during that time in our final report.”

We appreciate that the University of Utah has extended the opportunity for the student body to provide feedback and urge as many students as possible to review the open forum videos and provide input to the search committee. Below we have provided a link to each open forum, a link to the survey for feedback, and a summary of UnsafeU’s position on each of the three candidates. For each candidate CV, please visit the Chief of Police search website.

December 11, 2019: Haydee Martinez

A woman with short brown hair wearing a police uniform, standing in front of a background of green trees

Link to open forum: https://uofu.box.com/s/7m2p2wm5005v1gqy2ipu6hwrg7vnnwqg

Short bio:

Haydee Martinez has been at the Northwestern University Police Department for the past 18 years and currently serves as a Lieutenant in that police department. She is the first person of color and the first woman to receive promotions in the Northwestern University Police Department.

UnsafeU review:

We feel that this candidate is one of the most promising finalists for ensuring that reports by women, people of color, and LGBTA+ students are taken seriously. The University of Utah Police Department currently only has four women on staff. Given the culture of harassment that existed against women in the department, it is incredibly important to have leadership who understands how critical diversity and inclusion is to effective policing. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Lieutenant Martinez sued Northwestern University for sexual harassment and gender discrimination. After the lawsuit was dismissed, Martinez remained in the department to try to address bias. Martinez has pledged to improve training for handling reports by marginalized populations (specifically naming trauma-informed response training as a technique), as well as prioritizing plans to streamline collaborations between the Title IX office and Victim-Survivor Advocates.

UnsafeU Star Rating: 4/5 stars

December 12, 2019: Rodney Chatman

A black man wearing a pinstripe shirt stands in front of a creme colored wall. To his left is an American flag.

Link to open forum: http://www.kaltura.com/index.php/extwidget/preview/partner_id/670542/uiconf_id/36005582/embed/auto?&flashvars%5bstreamerType%5d=auto&flashvars%5bplaylistAPI.kpl0Id%5d=0_nqolbzml

Short bio:

Rodney Chatman is the current Executive Director of Public Safety and the Chief of Police at the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio. Throughout his 30 years in public safety, he has spent 15 of those years on campuses.

UnsafeU review:

We feel particularly hopeful about this candidate’s focus on mental health and transparency. He spoke in-depth during his open forum about the One Mind Campaign, a program that provides police departments with best practices for interacting with people who are dealing with issues of mental illness. Regarding transparency, he spoke about an ongoing initiative he started at the University of Dayton called ACOPS (Advisory Collaboration on Public Safety) where community members, faculty, staff, and students can come in every six weeks to bring concerns to him and to also hear about current issues impacting the department. He describes this group as “ripping the veil off” the department to improve transparency and trust with community members. Given the ACOPS initiative, this candidate seems the most likely to be supportive of our demand for a student-run, independent review board. Chief Chatman also spoke of his plans for extensively training and assessing officers on Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), Domestic Violence (DV), mental health, homelessness, racial bias, gendered violence, free speech, and other issues unique to campus environments when they are being on-boarded to UUPD. When asked about what he would do about ensuring that the current UUPD staff met these standards, he spoke about a plan for ongoing, weekly performance reviews on specific domains of officer conduct.

UnsafeU Star Rating: 4/5 stars

December 13, 2019: Kevin Gillilan

A white man in a police uniform stands behind a podium with a microphone, which says “Police University of North Alabama”

Link to open forum: http://www.kaltura.com/index.php/extwidget/preview/partner_id/670542/uiconf_id/36005582/embed/auto?&flashvars%5bstreamerType%5d=auto&flashvars%5bplaylistAPI.kpl0Id%5d=0_nqolbzml

Short bio:

Kevin Gillilan has been in law enforcement for over 24 years and at the University of North Alabama since 2015, serving as the Chief of Police for the campus police department.

UnsafeU review:

Gillilan was considered for a position at Utah State University in May of this past year. During his finalist forum at USU, he spoke extensively about accountability and transparency during his open forum at USU. During his open forum at the University of Utah, his focus on accountability and transparency revolved around media training and “taking control of the narrative.” Many students feel quite strongly about the University of Utah’s approach to communicating around safety has a “PR” feel to it and feels impersonal. We are hesitant to put a Chief of Police in leadership that seems more concerned with protecting the reputation of the department than the students the department is charged with protecting.

We are concerned that this candidate does not seem to have the ability to build relationships beyond a very small section of the campus. During the open forum, this candidate cited open forums, talking to fraternities and sororities, and working with ASUU as the main ways that he would collaborate with students to build trust. Groups like CESA and the LGBT Resource Center were not mentioned as critical groups to building relationships with and the Victim Survivor Advocates were not mentioned. This candidate seems to have a limited scope of stakeholders in the campus community and specifically, the student body. This was also the only candidate who did not speak specifically about IPV/DV or working with marginalized populations.

Additionally, we find this candidate’s comment that trust requires engagement from both sides to be dismissive of the legitimate concerns students hold regarding the recent toxic culture towards women in the UUPD. We feel strongly that the next Chief of Police must be proactive and see relationships as fundamental to their work and their success. We would be extremely cautious about hiring this candidate as Chief of Police and would want to see comprehensive action plans for community engagement released to the public within the first thirty days of his employment, including plans to seek out additional trauma-informed, DV/IPV training, and how he would plan to build relationships with marginalized groups in particular across campus.

UnsafeU Star Rating: 2/5 stars

Feedback Survey link (Due Thursday, December 19th at 5pm) https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/chiefofpolicesearch