On June 17, 2022, Keith Squires was sworn in as the University of Utah’s new chief safety officer by Utah’s Commissioner of Public Safety Jess L. Anderson with remarks provided by U President Taylor Randall. Squires is the second safety expert to hold this position.
Prior to accepting the position in January 2022, Squires had served as interim chief safety officer since April 2021. His appointment to lead the university’s safety operations provides continuity of leadership and strategic initiatives, including the work already underway to become accredited through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.
“I swear to honor my oath to protect and serve the University of Utah campus and community,” said Squires. “For many years I have referred to myself and other police officers as peace officers. Our main role and responsibilities for every member of our community is to help protect all from harm and keep the peace. This is how the dedicated members of our new university public safety team are approaching our service in upholding our sworn oath and in adhering to the peace officer code of ethics.”
As the chief safety officer, Squires oversees University Police, Emergency Management, University of Utah Health Security, Campus Security, Emergency Communications and Community Services. Today, over 85% of the U’s peace officers are new to the department since 2019.
“The safety of our campus community is an utmost priority. The position of chief safety officer (CSO) requires humility, patience and grace under pressure,” said Randall. “I believe Keith Squires has demonstrated all these qualities and more. As he assumes the CSO position permanently he will play a vital role in building trust and partnerships across campus to ensure everyone feels safe at the University of Utah.”
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 the 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.
“I congratulate the university in choosing a person of true humility and great strength of character to become the next chief safety officer,” said Anderson, “I’ve had the honor of knowing and serving with Keith during the past 23 years of my career. I’ve seen first-hand that Keith is a successful leader because he understands his weaknesses, but he’s able to move forward with confidence and bringing people together during difficult times.”
Squires reports directly to Cathy Anderson, the U’s CFO and vice president of administrative services, who oversees University Safety. “I’m delighted that Keith accepted this incredibly important position and the university is lucky to have his guidance as we all consistently work towards protecting our campus community. His depth of knowledge and experience has been indispensable as our University Safety Department evolves and becomes nationally accredited,” she said.
For the latest updates from University Safety, visit safety.utah.edu.