Facts About COCC’s Campus Public Safety
The safety of our campus communities is among our highest priorities at Central Oregon Community College. That's why we work hard to enhance programs and systems that provide students, faculty, staff and visitors with a safe and welcoming environment. We know that safety is key to creating a learning environment that promotes student success.
Keeping college campus communities safe in a changing world
COCC works closely with the Oregon College and University Public Safety Administrators Association to enhance safety practices on post-secondary campuses and protect our campus communities from violence. In recent years, threats to college campuses have increased. On October 1, 2015, our neighboring Umpqua Community College in Roseburg experienced the deadliest mass shooting in Oregon's modern history. While this tragic incident took place close to our Central Oregon home, college campuses nationwide are working diligently to address growing safety concerns in today's changing world.
Campus public safety officer training
To address these threats, we continue to develop and practice both preventive and responsive strategies. Continuing our long-standing practice, our Campus Public Safety Officers initially receive up to 400 hours of in-house training, with many also attending an 80-hour basic campus law enforcement officer academy, provided by professional associations. In addition, all officers are trained in CPR, AED and First Aid and most COCC officers are Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) trained. Several of our officers are also trained in Opiate Overdose Response and three officers are FEMA Certified (CERT) trainers. Along with College background checks, all officers must be certified by the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) program which requires a personal history statement and fingerprint/criminal history check.
Partnering with our communities
We work diligently to ensure that our Campus Public Safety program meets or exceeds legal requirements and the expectations of local law enforcement – including a clear distinction between campus safety and law enforcement. It has always been our practice and our commitment to work in partnership with local law enforcement teams in Bend, Redmond, Madras and Prineville. Over the past several years, COCC leadership has worked closely with these agencies to evaluate and enhance our Campus Public Safety program.
Action we've taken to enhance campus safety
In May of 2017, COCC entered into a Memorandum of Understanding between the College and the City of Bend. The MOU, signed by College and City officials, calls for “open communication, mutual respect and a commitment to fair and equitable collaboration.” COCC has been working transparently and in good faith to uphold our end of the MOU.
Over the past three years, we have taken decisive action on a number of COCC Campus Public Safety Enhancements including those suggested by our community partners at Bend Police Department. These policy changes include:
- Campus Public Safety Officers instructed not to make private persons arrests, carry handcuffs or initiate vehicle stops
- New uniforms purchased in consultation with the Bend Police Department and the Deschutes County District Attorney
- Campus Public Safety vehicles modified to look less like police cars (no partitions, push bumpers or blue lights; COCC mascot and branding added)
- Formation of a Campus Safety Work Group with broad campus representation, and Bend Police Chief Jim Porter
- Working with the Bend Police Department to explore adding a College Resource Officer (CRO).
Campus safety efforts continue
Safety is an ongoing priority and we will continue to work alongside national, state, county and city partners in the interest of our campus communities. While we are pleased with our progress, we recognize there is still work to be done and we know we cannot do it without trusted support and transparency from our local law enforcement partners.
As Oregon's oldest two-year community college, COCC has a 70-year legacy of improving the lives of students and the face of Central Oregon for the better every day. We are proud to support our dedicated students, faculty and staff who help make the learning and teaching environment at COCC second to none.