Portland State University Interim President Stephen Percy on Thursday announced a comprehensive plan to bolster campus safety that includes enhanced officer training, oversight, security of buildings, adding security officers, retaining armed officers and adding a new student safety ambassadors.
“Keeping our campus safe is one of the biggest responsibilities I have as PSU president. Today I am providing the board an update about our plans for implementing a new, balanced and holistic approach to campus public safety,” Percy told the Board of Trustees.
The trustees did not vote on the plan because they made clear earlier this year that the interim president has the authority and responsibility to develop and implement a plan.
The plan includes:
• Strengthen oversight of campus safety by the University Public Safety Oversight Committee, which is made up of students, faculty, staff and community members.
• Enhanced training for Campus Public Safety officers, including de-escalation techniques and building relationship with diverse groups they encounter at PSU.
• More security for campus buildings, such as electronic access pads at entrances.
• Hiring four additional unarmed campus safety officers to bring the number to 10, and continuing to have a force of 10 sworn, armed police officers.
• More attention to guidance from campus and community mental health professionals in responding to people in crisis.
At the trustees meeting, a group of students and others protested retaining armed campus police, including family members of Jason Washington, who was fatally shot by campus police in June 2018. His wife gave tearful testimony on the pain she has undergone since that incident.
Percy said: “The approach is the culmination of review and deep reflection in the aftermath of the tragic death of Mr. Jason Washington … I want to acknowledge these strongly held feelings and to tell you that I respect them, and I respect all of you who have shared them with us. Fundamentally, the benefits of safety and security must be made available to all members of the campus community.”
Source: Portland State University