EUGENE, Ore. — On Friday, the University of Oregon announced that it could soon arm its campus police officers.
The university transitioned to a full-fledged police force in 2011, but its sworn officers haven’t been carrying weapons. President Michael Gottfredson just submitted a request to the Oregon University System to change that.
“We want to make sure that our department has all the tools necessary to be able to provide the level of safety that people expect from us,” says university spokesman Phil Weiler.
Many students we talked to agreed that campus police should carry weapons.
“It makes sense for them to have weapons because you never know what situations can arise and it’s better to be prepared for any possible situation,” says William MacMiller, a junior.
But not everyone is comfortable with the idea of an armed campus police force.
“That doesn’t necessarily mean safety,” says Jordan Miller, also a junior. “It might mean the opposite, actually. Who’s going to save them from guns? More people with guns?”
School leaders argue that their 11 sworn officers go through the same rigor as other police in Oregon and also point out that, in the past, the university has contracted Eugene Police officers to patrol campus. UOPD officers are already certified to handle firearms, so if the request is approved, the implementation process is expected to move quickly.
The issue will be discussed at board meeting at Portland State University on June 21st.