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State moves to revoke BYU's certification to operate its own police department

State moves to revoke BYU's certification to operate its own police department .(Photo: KUTV)
State moves to revoke BYU's certification to operate its own police department .(Photo: KUTV)
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(UPDATE 2/26/19 5:44 p.m.) -- Provo Police say they stand ready should BYU police department lose it’s certification.

“We are aware of the issue involving BYU police department,” said Sgt. Nisha King. “If we are called upon to provide services the Provo Police Department will do so in a professional manner...We have very capable professional officers to take calls.”

BYU students tell 2News that they can’t imagine not having a police force on campus.

“It would be a big blow to students, to campus, to me as an individual,” said student Raquel Demordaunt. “I feel that would definitely decrease my sense of security here at BYU just because it is a comfort to know that if anything were to happen to me I do have an immediate source I can go report it to.”

(UPDATE 2/26/19 4:43 p.m.) -- Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi issued a statement on the decision to decertify Brigham Young University Police Department on Tuesday.

She said in part:

BYU and Provo City have long enjoyed a strong relationship, one that we believe is mutually beneficial in significant ways. We are aware of the Utah Department of Public Safety's recent determination to de-certify BYU's police force and of BYU’s decision to appeal.

Click below to read her full statement.

The Department of Public Safety has issued a statement on their decision to decertify Brigham Young University Police Department:

The decision to decertify Brigham Young University (BYU) Police Department is the culmination of three years of review by the Utah Department of Public Safety. After a great deal of effort and consideration, the decision to decertify BYU Police was the sole determination of Commissioner Jess L. Anderson.
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 while maintaining the public safety of the communities involved.

(KUTV) --State law enforcement officials have moved to decertify Brigham Young University’s Police department, which could strip the private University of having its own police force.

A notice of agency action from the Utah Department of Public Safety to decertify BYU Police was sent to the University on Monday, according to BYU officials who told 2News in a statement that they plan to appeal the decision.

“BYU finds this decision confounding and disagrees with the grounds for seeking decertification. The Department of Public Safety (UDPS) believes that University Police failed to meet criteria for an internal investigation and a response to a subpoena. BYU, however, believes that University Police met all applicable criteria and is surprised that the commissioner is issuing a letter on these technical grounds,” BYU officials wrote in a news release.

Information provided by BYU indicates that the University is already preparing its appeal and that the state decertification process will not take effect immediately.

“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,” the news release states.

UDPS sent a letter to the BYU police department, noting their intent to decertify, on Dec. 19, 2018. The organization cited the Utah Administrative Code Rule 698-4-5(1), which states that "[c]ertification of a law enforcement agency of a private college or university may be denied or revoked for failure to meet the certification criteria set forth in this rule."

On Feb. 20, a second letter was sent to the University's president, Kevin J. Worthen, which named exact reasons for the decertification. This included failure to comply with Utah Administrative Code Rules and failure to comply with a subpoena issued during an investigation into "allegations of misconduct of a BYUPD officer."

BYU has operated its own police force for approximately 40 years.

The Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee is hosting a public hearing at 4 p.m. on Tuesday to discuss S.B. 197, which would make private universities subject to GRAMA.

This story will be updated as new information is released.

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