EUGENE, Ore. — The University of Oregon Department of Public Safety is now the University of Oregon Police Department. Aside from the name change, the department will stay the same.
The Oregon legislature changed a law in January to allow state universities to have their own police departments. The UO wanted to create a layout for the new police department before changing its name, which is only one step of their transition.
“We’re in the first year of that transition that we think is going to take about six years. We will gradually be acquiring more police officers and then eventually have a full police force,” said UOPD representative Kelly McIver.
The UO Department of Public Safety officers will still do most of the patrols; but, the department has hired 11 sworn-and-commissioned police officers, who have a higher level of authority than those current public safety officers.
None of the police officers carry firearms, but they could in the future depending on campus discussions scheduled for the winter term.
After the discussions, university administrators will decide if they want to ask the State Board of Higher Education for armed officers. Ultimately, the board will make the final decision, but it will take at least a year before any changes are made.