BEND, OR -- The new President of Central Oregon Community College has been on the job just two weeks, but says she’s already getting a good understanding of the school and surrounding community. Dr. Laurie Chesley doesn’t plan any major changes, and says she’s looking forward, "Now, the task is really to take the college into the future, make sure it continues to be responsive to the community and to student needs, which is always changing; colleges are always in transition."
Dr. Chesley says she’s pleased COCC was quick to respond to the passage of Kaylee’s Law. "Our college has been following the development and progress of that law and we are now fully compliant with that law, and pleased to be so," she tells KBND News, "We look forward to more direction and standardization across the state for what community colleges need to do, because our number one goal is to keep students safe." The new law is named for Kaylee Sawyer, killed in 2016 by a former COCC campus safety officer now serving multiple life sentences. "We are happy for the passage of Kaylee’s Law. Obviously, there was a horrific incident that inspired it," says Dr. Chesley, "But, this law will allow us to have greater clarity on what we need to do to make sure our campus is as safe as possible for our students. That’s our goal."
Governor Kate Brown will be in Bend later this month for a ceremonial bill signing. The mandates took effect in May, following unanimous passage of the bill in the Legislature. The bill requires college public safety agencies to remove cages from patrol cars and take other steps the distinguish security guards from sworn police. Dr. Chesley calls a recent agreement with Bend Police to provide COCC with a full time college resource officer “a great compromise” that will solidify the school's relationship with Bend PD, while focusing on student and community safety.