PSU to disarm campus police by Sept. 1
Portland State University campus police officers will no longer carry weapons after Sept. 1.
The university announced Friday, June 11, that its campus police will be unarmed before the start of the fall term.
PSU Police Chief Willie Halliburton first announced plans to disarm the campus police force last summer, but said a few months later those plans would be delayed. Halliburton cited "staffing and administrative challenges" and told the PSU Vanguard college newspaper last fall that two sworn officers retired and another quit after the announcement.
Now the university says it's ready to move forward with the plan.
PSU President Stephen Percy said oversight committees have been formed and tasked with making recommendations to the university.
"New policies to reflect the change to unarmed patrol have been created, reviewed by the University Public Safety Oversight Committee and are now in place," Percy said in Friday's announcement.
The urban campus in downtown Portland has been the target of heightened scrutiny in recent years, following the shooting death of Jason Washington in 2018 by PSU campus police outside a bar near campus. PSU eventually settled with Washington's family for $1 million to avoid a wrongful death lawsuit. The university also vowed to create a memorial scholarship named after Washington and install an art piece in his honor.
Friday's announcement also comes amid nationwide calls for police reform and racial justice.
"All of this activity has taken place during a time when many of us have been working, living and learning away from campus and against the backdrop of PSU's collective effort to make significant progress on eliminating policies that restrict racial equity and justice," Percy said. "I am grateful to the work of the members of the Reimagine Campus Safety Committee and to Chief Halliburton for their leadership and perseverance. I am encouraged that when we return to campus this fall, we will continue to co-create a just and welcoming community for all students, employees and visitors."
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