Oregon State Police to End Contract with OSU Due to Staffing Shortage
The university has its own public safety department but its officers are unarmed and unable to place people under arrest.
The Oregon State Police announced Monday it is ending its contract with Oregon State University due to a staffing shortage.
State police have been the primary provider of law enforcement services for the Corvallis school since the ’80s, according to OPB. The contract is set to end on June 30, 2020.
The decision comes after months of considering the drastic decline of Oregon law enforcement resources and the need for police personnel at statewide offices.
“Considering our statewide obligations and concern for the safety of our own employees, the Oregon State Police has opted to allow our contract with OSU to lapse at year’s end, after the current contractual period expires,” said Mindy McCartt, communications director for OSP. “OSP will work closely with OSU on an exit strategy for policing resources and we offer our commitment to support them in this time of transition.”
As part of the contract, OSP provides the university with one lieutenant, one sergeant, 10 troopers and two administrative staff. State police at the university will be reassigned to local patrol offices.
The university has a public safety department made up of approximately 40 employees, including officers and support staff. However, officers are not armed and do not have the ability to arrest.
Three days prior to the announcement, OSU President Ed Ray sent an email to the campus community threatening to pull out of the contract after the release of bodycam footage showing a state trooper’s arrest of a black female student, raising concerns of racial bias and excessive force.
On Oct. 13, Genesis Hansen was stopped for riding her bike on the wrong side of the street, reports The Democrat-Herald. She was charged with interfering with a peace officer and resisting arrest after she refused to show her ID. The Benton County District Attorney’s Office has declined to prosecute those charges.
According to OSU Vice President Steve Clark, OSP said they made the decision to prioritize their staffing and at no point mentioned the student’s arrest as a reason.
The university will explore other law enforcement options before June 30, stated Clark.
“We will consider who are the best providers of licensed law enforcement services,” he said. “We’ll talk with them about that and we will continue to evaluate our own on-campus university-based programs as well.”
The school also has a mutual aid agreement with the Corvallis Police Department for students living off-campus.
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