Oregon Bill Could Arm Campus Officers

SALEM, Ore. – A bill proposing to arm Oregon University System (OUS) public safety officers is making its way through state congress.

The Oregon House of Representatives is reviewing House Bill 3318 that calls for the arming of campus police with firearms, training them up to police standards. OUS Vice Chancellor Jay Kenton says in a Daily Vanguard report that the measure would cost $4.5 million a biennia due to extra expenses incurred by higher salaries, training costs and risk management.

The bill includes significant pay raises, upgrades to facilities and equipment, and more extensive training in the hopes that campus police would be better able respond to potentially violent situations, like the recent Virginia Tech shootings.

Currently, unarmed campus security officers are expected to secure the perimeter while calling in backup from local law enforcement in the case of an active shooter. OUS has private contracts in place with local law enforcement for only two of its seven public universities. Bill 3318 would allow for a minimum of six officers on campus and one certified police officer to be on call at all times.

The bill has been heard three times this legislative session. It has received preliminary approval from the judiciary committee and is now on its way to the House Ways and Means Committee.

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