U of U Police Chief Rodney Chatman accepts new job at Brown University

Rodney Chatman has been hired as Brown University’s vice president for campus safety. Photo: Brown University
PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island, July 20, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Brown University announced Tuesday it has hired Rodney Chatman as its vice president for campus safety.

This announcement comes about 18 months after the University of Utah announced it had hired Chatman as its new police chief.

Chatman’s tenure in Utah has been marked by controversy. In December of 2020, U officials confirmed the chief had been placed on leave after concerns were raised about the status of his Peace Officer Standards and Training certification at the time of his hiring.

The questions were raised by attorney Jeremy Jones, who represents Miguel Deras, the former U of U police officer who was fired after being accused of improperly sharing intimate, evidentiary photos of slain student Lauren McCluskey, who was shot to death on Oct. 22 of 2018 after she had asked U of U police for help regarding threats from a former boyfriend Melvin Rowland, who would go on to kill her.

Deras maintained he did nothing wrong, although an investigation by Salt Lake County Attorney Sim Gill’s office determined his actions, while not illegal, were “reckless.”

Family of murdered U of U student settles lawsuits
Student Lauren McCluskey was killed in a shooting on Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. Photo: University of Utah/Steve C. Wilson

Chatman was originally hired to replace former University of Utah Police Chief Dale Brophy, who retired in October 2019 in the aftermath of McCluskey’s murder. Chatman took the helm in February 2020, coming to Utah from the University of Dayton where he was executive director of public safety and chief of police.

Chatman had previously served as a police officer and then captain at the University of Cincinnati, where he supervised a staff of nearly 100 officers, along with security and emergency communications personnel.

At the time Chatman’s Utah hiring was announced, then U of U Pres. Ruth Watkins, who has since left to take another job, praised him as “an experienced law enforcement leader who has a deep understanding of campus policing. He is committed to best practices, community engagement and relationship building and is the ideal candidate to lead and guide change in our Department of Public Safety.”

McCluskey’s parents ultimately settled a $13.5 million lawsuit against the U. for its alleged mishandling of their daughter’s case both before and after her murder.

According to media reports, Chatman has hired attorneys and will be seeking a settlement in the millions from the U for reportedly damaging his reputation and failing to reinstate him even after he had been cleared of wrongdoing.

Chatman will begin his new job at Brown University, an Ivy League school, on Sept. 1, the B.U. statement says. Brown President Christina H. Paxson praised Chatman’s record.

“Chief Chatman will bring not only an outstanding track record in law enforcement, but also the values, skills and experiences that will enable him to effectively engage our full community in advancing safety on campus in every aspect.”

Chatman also issued a statement, which his new university shared:

“The recognition at Brown that safety is more complex than policing and that success in ensuring well-being takes authentic engagement across the community made it clear that joining Brown was the ideal opportunity for me,” Chatman’s statement says.

Rodney Chatman. File photo: University of Utah


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