BEND, OR -- Less than three weeks after the tragic mass shooting at Umpqua Community College that left 10 people dead and more wounded, ripple effects are still being felt in Roseburg and across the state. Jim Bennett, Director of Campus Public Safety for Central Oregon Community College says, while the two campuses are very different, there are still lessons to be learned from the incident. "The changes have been an increased presence of officers on campus; and, I’m proud and pleased to say, an increased input from our campus community. Because, that’s what really makes a difference. And, the hope is that 100% of those pieces of information coming in turn out to be false leads and there’s no more to it than that. But, receiving that information is critical."
Bennett tells KBND students and staff are also making changes. "We have seen that across the board since Umpqua, if not even before, where our campus community steps forward and says, “Public Safety, I’m concerned because I’ve heard these rumors, these things,” and we take action against those. We also have a threat assessment team on our campus that evaluates threats against the student population or our community as a whole and identifies what’s an appropriate response to hopefully prevent and deter any significant event from occurring."
UCC is less than half the size of COCC and has only one public safety officer, compared to COCC’s 14 part-time and full-time officers. Due to state law, community college public safety departments in Oregon are unarmed, with one exception. Clackamas Community College outside of Portland has a special agreement allowing its officers to be deputized through its local Sheriff's Office.