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COCC Appears Ready To Make Security Changes

BEND, OR -- As Kaylee’s Law heads to a full floor vote in Oregon’s Senate, Central Oregon Community College appears poised to make the changes laid out in the bill. Bend Police Chief Jim Porter is encouraged by recent talks with the school’s administration, "COCC has continued to engage us at the highest level. Meeting with the Chairman of their Board and meeting with the President, we’ve come to some very agreeable conclusions on this, to make the campus more safe." 


Chief Porter tells KBND News, "They’ve agreed to comply with nearly all of the standards which are set forth in Kaylee’s Law: the look of the uniforms, so they don’t look like a police officer; not to 'stop, arrest and detain' people; the removal of the cages from the vehicles, and the removal of the large push bumpers, and also the changing of lights. Now, many of these things they’ve done in incremental fashion, already." Porter says talks continue regarding light bars on top of patrol cars, which he says aren’t allowed on public streets under state law. 


He's pleased COCC seems willing to follow through on the recommendations, following months of resistance and conversations, "The President, Shirley Metcalf, has dedicated herself to solving this issue. Our meeting, actually, last week, was something that’s kind of unheard of – we met without attorneys present. Organizations generally don’t do that. She and the Chairman of the Board Laura Cooper want to get this resolved, want to get this behind the college and move forward."


While Chief Porter believes the voluntary compliance is a step in the right direction, he says Kaylee’s Law is still needed because it creates important conduct standards and accountability for campus public safety. The bill, sponsored by Bend State Senator Tim Knopp and named for Kaylee Sawyer, passed out of committee this week and appears to have enough support for approval by the full Senate. Senator Knopp (R-Bend) is optimistic it will be approved and signed by the Governor before the end of the session. 


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