Portland State University announced Friday that its police officers will begin patrolling campus unarmed no later than Sept. 1.
Initially, the university said it would make the change last fall, but it was unable to meet that goal. The first announcement of disarming officers on PSU’s campus came about two years after PSU police shot and killed Jason Washington, a Black man who was reportedly attempting to break up a fight.
PSU President Stephen Percy wrote in a message to the campus community that Campus Public Safety Chief Willie Halliburton has committed to beginning unarmed campus patrols before the start of the upcoming fall term.
“I appreciate the leadership of Chief Halliburton and members of the CPSO team for their commitment to innovation in campus safety,” Percy wrote.
Percy formed the Reimagine Campus Safety Committee last year to plan new strategies around community safety at the university. Percy said Friday in his message that the committee has been gathering information and creating “task groups” to examine campus safety.
“This summer, those groups, which are working with additional members of the campus community on the reimagination process, are focusing on important topics within the overall question of campus safety, including community engagement, frameworks for campus safety, the physical environment, responding to individuals in crisis and welcoming and belonging,” Percy wrote. “The committee will review the work of those groups and make recommendations this fall to my office and to the PSU Board of Trustees on the future of our campus public safety.”
Percy continued: “I am encouraged that when we return to campus this fall, we will continue to co-create a just and welcoming community for all students, employees and visitors.”