University Security Officers Ask Legislators For Changes
By State Representative Kim Thatcher,
(Salem) Legislation that would help Oregon’s campus security officers is now making its way through the legislative process. State Representative Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer, St. Paul, Newberg) is actively involved in what she calls, “basic changes that could go a long way toward enhancing the safety at our institutions of higher education in Oregon.” On Wednesday, April 1st, a public hearing will be held before the House Judiciary Committee on House Bill 3071. The bill is sponsored by Thatcher and State Representative Jeff Barker (D-Aloha), the Committee Chairman. The measure would allow campus security officers to be trained as regular police officers and grant them the authority to issue violations for things like minor-in-possession, DUII and other crimes on campus.
“This legislation is a starting point; a small way we can help these law enforcement officers do their jobs to the best of their abilities and provide the best protection possible under our current system,” said Thatcher.
Greg Marks, a campus security officer at Portland State University, explained, “campus safety officers across the state are frustrated with the current system which puts them in charge of protecting our public universities, but gives them very little training, equipment or law enforcement authority.” He added, “The safety of tens of thousands of students — our state’s future workers and leaders, is at stake. We should expect the highest level of security possible.” Marks is also a law enforcement training instructor at the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training.
On Tuesday Senate Bill 658 was heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee. That bill would give Oregon Health and Sciences University the ability to have armed and trained police officers on their campus. Thatcher told the committee, “understanding the current budget environment, we applaud OHSU’s efforts to do their own thing and we would like to see other universities have the same option.”
Specifically, Thatcher mentioned House Bill 3070 which would give each campus the freedom to decide how they want to structure their public safety personnel. The Service Employees International Union requested the House bills and has been trying to get legislative changes since 2003.
Last year a taskforce on campus safety, appointed by the Governor, recommended the concepts in HB 3071.
Representative Thatcher has served on the House Judiciary Committee in past legislative sessions and has two daughters currently in college.
State Representative Kim Thatcher
900 Court Street NE H-472 Salem, OR 97301 503-986-1425
www.leg.state.or.us/thatcher ~ [email protected]