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Bill Seeks To Study Public Safety, Police Departments On Utah Colleges And Universities

Picture of a female lawmaker introducing a bill.
Rocio Hernandez
State Sen. Jani Iwamoto introduced her campus safety bill to the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday. It would study public safety departments at Utah colleges and universities.

Assistant Minority Whip and State Sen. Jani Iwamoto, D-Holladay, introduced S.B. 80, a bill that seeks to study law enforcement departments at Utah public colleges and universities. A final report would be presented to the Education and Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice interim committees. 

Iwamoto’s bill asks the Utah State Board of Regents to work with government and community organizations to study and make recommendations on public safety services on campuses. The study would look at how campus law enforcements work with local law enforcement off-campus, as well as things like hiring and firing practices and sexual violence response training. 

“The bill is meant to be inclusive and open discussions with all the stakeholders that we can find and then hopefully we come up with something for next year,” Iwamoto said. 

In 2018, University of Utah student Lauren McCluskey, who lived on campus, reached out to the Salt Lake City Police Department twice regarding threats from her ex-boyfriend. But she was referred back to campus police, according to an independent review.

“There needs to be seamless communication and coordination because we know that we can’t just stop at an artificial border because our students live a block away,” she said. 

Iwamoto’s new bill continues the work on campus safety that she did last year. In 2019, she passed a law that required Utah colleges and universities to develop safety plans and training curricula that will be updated and presented to the Utah Legislature regularly.

Rocio Hernandez covers education and immigration for KUER. Follow her on Twitter @rociohzz

Rocio is coming to KUER after spending most of her life under the blistering Las Vegas sun and later Phoenix. She earned bachelor’s degrees in journalism and Spanish at the University of Nevada, Reno. She did brief stints at The Associated Press, the Las Vegas Review-Journal and Reno Public Radio. She enjoys wandering through life with her husband and their toy poodle.
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