PORTLAND, Ore. — Officers on the University of Oregon campus will now be allowed to carry firearms after a unanimous vote by the Oregon State Board of Higher Education on Friday.
Not everyone on the board agrees that arming UO Police is a good idea, but they say that it seems to be the best option right now. The UO president asked the board for permission to arm university officers at its meeting on Friday, then supporters of the change presented their opinions.
The UOPD says that without being armed, it was very restricted on the kind of work it could do. Now that officers can carry firearms, they’ll be able to transport suspects and respond to assault calls and fights in progress.
“It is about the safety of students, staff, faculty, visitors, and our officers and I think that this will help us accomplish that,” said UOPD Chief Carolyn McDermed.
Over time, campus police will also begin traffic stops, which it hasn’t been able to do in the past because the department says it’s too risky for unarmed officers. The UOPD also says that having an armed force will increase its response time because it won’t have to wait for assistance from Eugene Police.