Central Oregon Community College has reached an agreement to have an armed member of the Bend police patrol campus.
“[The person in that position] is a police officer, therefore he is armed,” said Juli-Ann McConkey with the city of Bend in an email to OPB. “He will wear a Bend Police Department uniform, bullet proof vest, and gun belt.”
McConkey said the officer will report to a Bend police lieutenant but the job will be guided with the help of COCC’s director of campus safety.
The agreement for an armed Bend police officer on campus follows problems at the college with sexual assault. In 2016, a student named Kaylee Sawyer was raped and killed by a campus security officer, leading to a push in Salem for the passage of “Kaylee’s Law,” which was signed into law earlier this year. An audit by the Bend police last year found COCC staff botched investigations into crimes against women. COCC’s leadership has denied the allegations.
The cost of the campus police officer will be split between the city and the college.
The rules for police and college campuses vary between community colleges and public universities, but arming campus police has been controversial in parts of Oregon. The strongest opposition has been at Portland State University, where the university’s employment of armed officers has drawn protests. Demonstrations escalated last year after campus officers fatally shot a black man while he was attempting to break up a fight.