Police Chief Rodney Chatman (above) will leave UD next month for the University of Utah. Cover photo courtesy of the University of Dayton
In just four short months, most students who entered UD in 2016 will graduate. It’s a perfect irony that Rodney Chatman, the chief of police and executive director of public safety who similarly came to UD in 2016, will also say goodbye to the university this semester.
The university announced via email on Thursday that Chatman will leave UD on Feb. 7 to take over as chief of police at the University of Utah. He was chosen over more than 50 applicants for the position.
— University of Dayton (@univofdayton) January 9, 2020
Chatman had nothing but kind words to say in the email announcing his departure.
“As I reflect upon my tenure at UD, the words ‘honor’ and ‘privilege’ truly resonate with me. There is something truly special about a place that celebrates prayer and works across divisional lines in support of one another,” he said. “I sincerely thank the University of Dayton for allowing me this opportunity to serve this special community.”
It’s unclear who will take over for Chatman. In the departure announcement, the university said Student Development is “working on a transitional plan to ensure continuity in our efforts to keep students and the entire campus community safe.” The university said those plans will be announced soon but offered no specifics.
During his tenure, Chatman was known for his engagement with students. He implemented Community Engagement Officers, which are Public Safety officers who work to establish relationships between campus police and students.
Under Chatman’s leadership, Public Safety officers regularly ate in UD dining halls and hosted barbeques that were open to the campus community. He also amassed 570 followers on Instagram (@udchiefchatman), where the chief regularly provided updates on public safety.
Sophomore Huthayfa Usman said Chatman will be missed. Last year, Usman founded Public Safety Advocates (PSAs), student volunteers who act as intermediaries between UD police and the student body to foster cooperation.
“I met Chief Chatman in August 2018, still during my senior year of high school. He inspired me to come to UD and make a difference, while working toward my criminal justice degree,” Usman said. “Through his support and supervision, I founded [PSAs]. He has been a mentor to me, and a great friend.”
Senior Chad Jaenke, UD EMS chief, similarly expressed appreciation for Chatman’s work.
“…[Chatman] has been an ardent supporter of UD EMS as well as an outspoken leader for the Department of Public Safety,” he said. “We appreciated his continued efforts to draw the campus and Public Safety community together.”
Chatman oversaw police activity during multiple day drinks in the student neighborhood that were broken up by Public Safety officers. This climaxed on St. Patrick’s Day in 2018 when police in riot gear cleared Lowes Street after students threw objects at officers.
The University of Utah (with a student population of more than 30,000) is ranked as the #1 party school in Utah with a party scene grade of A-, according to Niche. (UD’s party scene grade is A+.)
Flyer News wishes Chief Chatman the best and additionally thanks him for always being open and informative.