BYU Police Decertified by State of Utah

BYU Police Decertified by State of Utah

Once the decertification is finalized, the BYU PD would basically have the same powers as a private security company. The BYU PD would not be recognized as a law enforcement agency by Utah’s POST or other departments, and its employees would not have the power to arrest people.

The Brigham Young University Police Department has been decertified by the state of Utah, Deseret News reports. It will remain active as a police department while BYU appeals the decision, until Sept. 1.

"The decision to decertify Brigham Young University Police Department is the culmination of three years of review by the Utah Department of Public Safety," the Utah Department of Public Safety said in a prepared statement. “After a great deal of effort and consideration, the decision to decertify BYU police was the sole determination of Commissioner Jess L. Anderson.”

BYU was officially notified of the decertification decision in a letter to BYU President Kevin Worthen from the state department, dated Feb. 20. The letter stated that the police department had failed to comply with the open records rules to which all law enforcement agencies are subject.

According to the letter, BYU police "failed to comply with the certification criteria … specifically, between 2016 and April 2018, BYUPD failed to conduct an internal investigation into specific allegations of misconduct by a BYUPD officer and failed to report any findings found to be true to Peace Officer Standards and Training" as required by law. The letter adds that the department also “failed to comply with a subpoena issued by POST on June 28 into allegations of misconduct by a BYUPD officer.”

Peace Officer Standards and Training is responsible for training and certifying all law enforcement officers and dispatchers in Utah.

According to Utah Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Marissa Cote, the BYU PD failed to comply with requests for public records, even when the public records requests were made by the state.

"It is important to our department that all law enforcement agencies and officers in Utah are held to the highest standard. We expect transparency and accountability by all who serve the public. We will give proper respect to the decertification process," the Department of Public Safety said in a statement.

The state has granted BYU an extension until Sept. 1 to find alternative policing if it does not plan to appeal the ruling.

Once the decertification is finalized, the BYU PD would basically have the same powers as a private security company. The BYU PD would not be recognized as a law enforcement agency by Utah’s POST or other departments, and its employees would not have the power to arrest people.

Individual BYU officers would retain their POST certification for an additional 18 months to give them time to find a position with another police department.

According to BYU’s website, the university plans to appeal the decision.

"BYU plans to file a responsive pleading and demonstrate in a hearing how university police has complied with these certification criteria,” the university said in a statement. “BYU continues to believe that the best way to protect its students, and to protect BYU’s campus without putting a disproportionate fiscal burden on Provo’s taxpayers, is to have comprehensive police protection through Provo City and university police."

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