BEND, Ore. - (Update: Adding cost of position)
Central Oregon Community College and the city of Bend, through the Bend Police Department, announced Thursday they have signed an agreement for a college resource officer to operate at the college’s Bend campus, starting this September, similar to the school resource officers stationed at Bend-La Pine Schools facilities.
“This is an important step in our continued partnership with the city of Bend and the Bend Police Department,” said Laura Craska Cooper, chair of COCC’s board of directors said in a joint statement with the city. “We look forward to having the officer work with our campus public safety staff.”
The agreement follows an earlier memorandum of understanding in which the college and the city clarified the respective roles COCC’s campus public safety and the Bend Police Department relating to security, safety and law enforcement on the college’s Bend campus.
The campus-stationed police officer is one of several steps taken in the wake of the 2016 murder of Kaylee Sawyer by a then-public safety officer on the college campus and this year's legislative passage and signing of Kaylee's Law, aimed at steps to better differentiate campus security officers from law enforcement, such as changes to patrol cars and new high-visibility vests worn by campus officers.
“In 2019, Central Oregon Community College has devoted significant staffing and finances to bring their security staff into compliance with Kaylee’s Law, improving communications with the Bend Police Department, and rebuilding the trust between the college and the city of Bend,” said Police Chief Jim Porter.
“It was the commitment and focus of President Shirley Metcalf and board Chair Laura Craska Cooper that have made these positive changes possible,” he added.
The college resource officer will be an employee of the city, recruited and selected by the Bend Police Department, with input from the college. The CRO will serve full-time on the Bend campus, with the cost of the position -- about $175,000 a year, including wages and benefits -- split equally between the city and the college.