Univ. of Utah Police Chief resigns amid criticism of McCluskey case handling

Univ. of Utah Police Chief resigns amid criticism of McCluskey case handling

The Chief of Police at the University of Utah has resigned. Dale Brophy had been under intense scrutiny ever since Pullman-native Lauren McCluskey was murdered on campus by her ex-boyfriend last fall.

McCluskey was a student-athlete on the university’s track team.

She had asked campus police to protect her multiple times when a man she had recently stopped dating, named Melvin Rowland, began threatening and harassing her.

McCluskey had just found out Rowland had been lying to her about his age and criminal history. She broke off the relationship when she realized he was actually 37 years old and a registered sex offender who was out of prison on parole.

Despite filing multiple reports with campus police, she was not given proper protection. Recordings of McCluskey’s 911 calls to Salt Lake City Police show she was growing increasingly concerned for her safety.

“I’m worried because I’ve been working with the campus police at the U, and last Saturday I reported and I haven’t gotten an update,” she told Salt Lake City Police dispatch on October 19. “They haven’t updated or done anything.”

Rowland shot and killed her on campus on October 22.

After the murder, Chief Brophy said the department didn’t fully understand who Rowland was either, and admitted the department waited days to investigate McCluskey’s pleas for help.

Brophy was never reprimanded for his department’s handling of the case.

In an email Tuesday, he announced his resignation. “After 25 years in law enforcement, I have decided to retire and pursue other opportunities,” he said. “This has not been an easy decision, but the timing is right. This move will open a new chapter for me and provide the department an opportunity to continue forward under new leadership.”

Lauren McCluskey’s parents have been critical of Brophy’s work and said his retirement is a step in the right direction. The McCluskeys have also filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the university.