PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland State University Thursday announced that starting this fall its Campus Public Safety officers would begin conducting patrols without firearms.
The university said these unarmed campus patrols are the first step in an ongoing process to re-imagine campus safety, opb.com reported.
“Over the past few weeks we have listened to many voices across our campus,” PSU President Stephen Percy said in a statement. “The calls for change that we are hearing at PSU are ringing out across our nation. We must find a new way to protect the safety of our community, one that eliminates systemic racism and promotes the dignity of all who come to our urban campus.”
Campus Public Safety Chief Willie Halliburton made the decision for campus security officers to begin unarmed patrols, the university said.
“This is a historic event in the world of police work,” Halliburton said in a statement. “I understand it’s going to have its challenges, but it’s the right thing to do for Portland State. We will still protect our campus. We will still provide police services. We will have police officers available. We will have them here, but they will be unarmed.”
Instead of firearms, Campus Public Safety officers will carry “non-lethal tasers,” Halliburton said.
“If there is a call that requires an armed presence, Portland Police Bureau has agreed to assist us,” he said.
The university currently employees six sworn officers who will no longer be armed, according to the report.
Halliburton said the university’s officers will be reaching out to other departments and organizations for ideas on how to handle people who may come onto campus while experiencing a mental health crisis.
“This is unique for Portland State University. I am not asking for other departments to follow our lead,” Halliburton said in his statement. “All I know is that at Portland State University, we need to heal, and this is the first step of healing.”
Actually, it’s the first step toward dying if you have a homicidal suspect on campus who is committed to creating carnage, noted Law Officer’s editorial staff.