New BYU Security Department to operate separately from BYU Police

Brigham Young University campus. Photo: Wikimedia/Pastelitodepapa

PROVO, Utah, Oct. 1, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Brigham Young University on Thursday announced the formation of a new BYU Security Department, which will function separately from the university’s police department.

“The BYU Security Department will oversee on-campus security for buildings, such as the Museum of Art and the Harold B. Lee Library, as well as campus properties, such as the Motion Picture Studio and West Campus; the former Provo High School,” said a news release from BYU. “The department will also have responsibility for campus parking.”

The new BYU Security Department will not handle Honor Code violations.

BYU will also continue to operate its state-certified police force, which has authority to make traffic stops and arrests, and to file charges with the prosecutor’s office, the news release said.

“Data shows 97% of the largest private four-year universities in the nation operate state-certified police forces,” the news release added. “BYU police and its officers will patrol campus and continue to be subject to GRAMA and other state and federal laws applicable to law-enforcement agencies.”

The new security apparatus will not be open to GRAMA requests, according to BYU, since does not have law enforcement authority.

A team of 10 full-time employees will oversee more than 300 student employees within the new security department, the news release said.

Security employees will function similarly to employees in private security companies or non-sworn security personnel in that they will have specialized safety training, but they will not have authority to make arrests like a sworn law enforcement officer.

Former BYU Police Chief Chris Autry will oversee both BYU PD and BYU Security Department

Once in place, a new BYU police chief and the BYU security management team will report to Autry, who will in turn report to BYU’s Administration Vice President and CFO Steve Hafen.

“The new police and security structure will fully separate law enforcement functions from internal security functions to effectively protect our campus community and allow BYU police to focus solely on law enforcement activities,” Hafen said. “Chris Autry has the trust and respect of the law enforcement community and the public. He also has a deep understanding of BYU’s campus and its security needs. I’m excited for him to take on the responsibilities of this position.”

BYU Police, formerly known as University Police, was originally established in 1952 and has a full-time police staff of 17 POST-certified officers with an additional 10 part-time POST-certified officers. It has been recognized as an official Utah law enforcement agency protecting BYU’s campus community since 1979.

The BYU police department is housed on campus within the Jesse Knight Building.


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