Three law enforcement experts will investigate the police department of the University of Utah, his policies and, despite previous statements, the "actions taken by individual officers" after a student was shot dead on campus last week.
US President Ruth Watkins announced the independent review team on Friday, and includes two former commissioners from the Utah Department of Public Safety: John T. Nielsen, who served in that position from 1985 to 1988 and is also a lawyer ; and Keith Squires, who retired as commissioner in August
Former University of Wisconsin-Madison Police Chief Sue Riseling will serve as the third member of the team. She is now the executive director of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators
Watkins said she elected the panel members based on her experience in law enforcement and with the campus security. The U. said earlier that the investigation would focus on policies and not on the behavior of individual officials. That position changed on Friday, and Watkins said he asked the team to complete its review by December 17.
An investigation related to campus general safety will be completed in the spring.
"I want to make it clear that the review team will act with total autonomy," he said, noting that they will have full access to staff and records.
The university and its police department have faced questions about how campus officials handled extortion complaints reported by athlete and track athlete Lauren McCluskey in the weeks leading up to her death
The man who was allegedly involved in the harassment , Melvin S. Rowland, killed her on October 22. She died by suicide hours later.
"We committed to Lauren's family that we will learn from this with the hope of avoiding another tragedy like this on our campus, "added Watkins.
The Department of Public Safety is best known as the parent organization of the Utah Highway Patrol, although it also includes the State Bureau of Investigation, the state crime laboratory, and the fire chief's office. state.
Nielsen, who will lead the investigations, said on Thursday he was hesitant to say where the review will go, but said his team anticipates responding "if Lauren's concerns were taken seriously." "
" I have accepted this responsibility with the firm understanding that it must be done correctly and thoroughly, "Nielsen said. "We will go where the facts take us."
McCluskey's parents said that Rowland, a registered sex offender, lied to his daughter about his name, age and criminal history. He ended his relationship on October 9, after dating him for a month and discovering his real identity.
The next day, McCluskey told officers that he received emails and messages that threatened to deliver "compromising photos" if he did not send them $ 1,000. The U. Police did not open a formal investigation until October 19.
He had an extensive criminal history, going in and out of jail after a handful of probation violations. He was convicted of attempted forced sexual abuse and of attracting a child through the Internet in 2004.
Watkins said Friday that the university is not waiting for completion of revisions to take steps to improve campus safety.
College police, he said, will ask him to reassess how the department prioritizes cases after the delay in responding to McCluskey. The school will examine the campus for locations to install more cameras and better lights and will inform students when and where they can park closer to the buildings.
She has asked the US Office of Residential Education and Housing. UU Perform reviews of the protected dormitories to see where students may be opening doors or letting strangers in. The chief of police of the EE. US, Dale Brophy, said that Rowland waited inside the building where McCluskey lived hours before his death, after the residents he had previously made friends with let him in.
The school president is also asking several departments, including housing, the Office of the Dean of Students and the Office of Equal Opportunities and Affirmative Action, to conduct more trainings with staff and students on how to deal with emergencies.
"We always have to look at ourselves, learn and improve," Watkins said. "That work is not done."
College spokeswoman Annalisa Purser said the school currently requires all new students to take online training modules on sexual assault and alcohol abuse prevention, but there is no way to see if the students have completed them or for impose a penalty if they have not done so (such as not allowing them to enroll in classes). Although that began in the fall of 2017 and McCluskey enrolled in 2015, he would have completed training as a member of the sports department, which requires his students to participate each year.
When new staff members are hired at the U., they are asked to complete a larger training package, which includes modules on emergency management and sexual misconduct, which analyze where to report harassment or violence. But the university does not impose completion, said Purser.
The US Department of Police UU He has his own set of trainings and a schedule to renew them, but he would not divulge that information on Friday because the researchers asked the office not to "go into detail about current processes or training."
The college review is one of the many questions about whether the Utah police made mistakes in supervising Rowland and handling McCluskey's complaints against him. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert also called for the Utah Department of Corrections and the Board of Pardons and Paroles to be investigated. The State Bureau of Investigation has appointed a team to handle that and is currently gathering information, a spokesman said.
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