EUGENE, Ore. — The University of Oregon Department of Public Safety has changed its name to the University of Oregon Police Department, or UOPD. The name change, effective immediately, is one part of the transition to a fully sworn, full-service policy agency.
“Our department is coordinating more than ever with other law enforcement agencies, and using ‘police department’ just makes things clearer for everyone,” said Interim Chief Carolyn McDermed.
At the beginning of the year, the Oregon Legislature empowered the University of Oregon to create a campus police department. Nearly ten months into the transition process, changes have already been made. Pete Deshpande from the Eugene Police Department has been hired as the new police captain. Four UO lieutenants, who have recently been law officers at other agencies, passed certification tests to renew their police credentials. Two sergeants have completed Oregon’s basic police academy and are gradually completing required field training. Three other officers have been sworn and commissioned into the UOPD and are in stages of certification with the state. The full transition is expected to take up to six years.
UOPD officers will continue to not carry firearms while on duty; but carry pepper spray, batons and restraints. Eugene police will still be called to campus for all operations requiring arms.
The UO is the only university in the Pac-12 and member of the Association of American Universities (AAU) with unarmed police officers on campus full-time. The officers will remain unarmed until there is a broad campus discussion on the issue during this year’s winter term; a decision will be made by university leaders in the spring.