Keith Squires named chief safety officer

Squires has been serving as interim chief safety officer since April 2021.

The University of Utah today announced Keith Squires as the university’s next chief safety officer.

Squires has been serving as interim chief safety officer since April 2021. His appointment to lead the university’s safety operations is effective as of Jan. 1, 2022, and provides continuity of leadership and strategic initiatives, including the work already underway to become accredited through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.

“We are pleased to have such a seasoned public safety executive lead our campus safety initiatives,” said University of Utah President Taylor Randall. “Keith Squires brings a wealth of experience to this important job—both from his many years as Utah’s Commissioner of Public Safety, as well as his time helping to build our newly reimagined University Safety Department.”

Squires was appointed interim chief safety officer when inaugural Chief Safety Officer Marlon Lynch accepted a similar position at his alma mater, Michigan State University. Lynch hired Squires in July 2020 as his executive officer.

The hiring of a chief safety officer was among one of the most significant and visible investments made to campus safety by Ruth Watkins, president emerita, in 2019. Lynch moved quickly after joining the U to make changes to the public safety infrastructure with the goal of increasing capacity, improving accountability and transparency and moving safety efforts forward to best serve the U community.

Some of the changes implemented by Lynch and Squires include establishing new safety divisions, creating new safety committees and developing a SafeU Student Ambassador program. A new, centralized administrative office guides strategic initiatives, communication, campus partnerships and relationships with external public safety agencies.

“I’m honored to continue leading the University Safety Department,” Squires said. “This work involves going beyond historical policing. With the changes we are implementing, University Safety operations are becoming part of a holistic, transparent and strategic effort that allows us to work genuinely with our campus community in creating an environment where everyone can feel safe with a sense of belonging. I’m confident that our continued innovations will demonstrate the effectiveness and help serve as a model for others.”

Prior to joining the university, Squires served in former Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s cabinet, retiring in 2018 after 31 years as a law enforcement officer. His years in public safety include serving as homeland security advisor to two Utah governors; leading the State Bureau of Investigation and Utah Highway Patrol; and working as a local law enforcement advisor to the U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Squires holds a master’s degree in homeland defense and security from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, a bachelor’s degree in administration of criminal justice and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and FBI National Executive Institute.

“Keith Squires has provided a steady hand in our University of Utah Safety Department as we made important structural and cultural changes,” said Cathy Anderson, the U’s chief administrative and financial officer. “His appointment will provide critical continuity as we continue to elevate, innovate and improve safety operations.”

As the chief safety officer, Squires will oversee University Police, Emergency Management, U of U Health Security, Campus Security, Emergency Communications and Community Services.

For the latest updates from University Safety, visit the University Safety Department website.

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