Progress Towards Unarmed Campus Patrols
Campus Public Safety Office Works Toward Unarmed Campus Patrols
Starting in August 2020 PSU’s Campus Public Safety Office, under the leadership of Chief Willie Halliburton, has been working to update policies, procedures, and staff training to begin unarmed patrols. The original timeline toward that goal, complicated staff turnover, lengthy legal reviews, and other factors was extended in October 2020.
In June 2021, President Stephen Percy announced that all new policies to support this significant shift in campus policing would be in place and all CPSO officers would be able to begin unarmed patrols no later than Sept. 1, 2021.
For background on this transition, watch Chief Halliburton’s announcement above from October 2020.
Read: A full campus update from Chief Halliburton and PSU President Stephen Percy from October 2020
Read: The original announcement about the transition to unarmed patrols from August 2020
1. Why has Campus Public Safety decided to make the change to non-armed campus patrols by officers?
Chief Willie Halliburton and the officers reached this decision after conversations with the campus community. CPSO acknowledges that some members of our campus community have had negative experiences in their past encounters with law enforcement. The death of Jason Washington on our campus was a traumatic event on our campus. Officers want to begin the healing process for our community and the Public Safety Office. The move to a non-armed campus patrol is an important step forward for Portland State to work toward a new approach to campus safety that addresses the issues of systematic racism and promotes the dignity of all who come to campus.
2. When the transition to unarmed patrols is completed, will PSU Campus Police Officers carry firearms?
No. Portland State University Police Officers will not carry firearms while on patrol. Officers will be authorized to carry less-than-lethal devices such as Tasers. Campus Safety Officers and Student Safety Ambassadors have never carried weapons and will continue to be unarmed.
3. When the transition to unarmed patrols is completed, will PSU Campus Police Officers have access to firearms?
Yes. Firearms will be secured at the Office of Campus Public Safety and sworn PSU Campus Police Officers will be able to retrieve them in very limited instances, such as the presence of an active shooter on campus. A formal policy is currently being developed and will be reviewed by the University Public Safety Oversight Committee.
4. What are the differences between a campus public safety officer and a campus police officer?
PSU Campus Police Officers are sworn law enforcement officers who have been certified by the Department of Public Safety and Standards police academy. Campus Public Safety Officers are trained safety personnel who are not authorized to carry firearms. The PSU Campus Public Safety Office includes both types of officers.
5. Will PSU still have certified police officers?
Yes. Campus police officers will be fully certified by the State of Oregon and required to maintain all necessary certifications and ongoing training.
6. Who should I call if I have an emergency?
Call 9-911 from any campus phone. Campus Public Safety Office is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Or call 503-725-5911 from a cell phone.
7. How can I learn more about the activities of public safety and the frequency of safety activities on the PSU campus? Do we track reports of weapons on campus?
Universities are required to file annual reports required by the Clery Act. The reports are intended to inform the PSU community of the extent of reported crimes occurring in the previous calendar year. The report includes information about reported weapons on campus (which have averaged approximately two incidents per month). Additionally, Campus Public Safety Office keeps a detailed activity log that is available for public viewing. More information, including statistics on the frequency of specific offenses, can be found in CPSO's Annual Report.
8. How will the Campus Public Safety Office work with the Portland Police Bureau?
PSU will partner with Portland Police Bureau to respond to high-risk calls. The university is working with PPB to develop the necessary memorandums of understanding.
9. What is the oversight structure for Campus Public Safety?
The University Public Safety Oversight Committee (UPSOC) is a representative group of faculty, staff and students charged by the PSU Board of Trustees with providing oversight, counsel and advice to PSU’s Campus Public Safety leadership in order to improve campus safety.
In addition, PSU President Stephen Percy formed a special committee in August to co-create a comprehensive plan for the individual and collective well-being of Portland State students, staff, faculty, administrators, and visitors. The Reimagine Campus Safety Committee will develop new strategies and new methods that end the legacy of anti-Black outcomes in traditional approaches to community safety and create a new vision of a welcoming campus that promotes well-being and creates the conditions for genuine belonging for all members of the PSU community.