BEND, OR -- Governor Kate Brown came to Bend yesterday to sign Kaylee's Law - legislation that creates strict rules for college security guards. Kaylee Sawyer was murdered in 2016 by a COCC security officer whose police-style vehicle made it impossible for her to escape him once she was in the back seat. Brown says following the law's clarity and transparency standards will keep a tragedy like this from recurring. "At its heart, its focus is about making our campuses safer for our students."
Senator Tim Knopp was instrumental in getting this legislation passed. He called yesterday's ceremony the culmination of a lot of hard work to create something good out of Kaylee's untimely death. "Although it's a sad day, in some respects, it's also a day that we can celebrate Kaylee Sawyer and what she's continuing to give to our community."
Kaylee's Law mandates changes to college security vehicles, uniforms, and equipment so they won't appear to be those of law enforcement, and requires nationwide background security check on all officers. Governor Brown says the law is necessary to keep those on college campuses safer. "Kaylee Sawyer's death was a tragedy, and we want to make sure that this never happens to a promising Oregonian again."
Jamie Sawyer said the passing of the law bearing Kaylee's name gives some meaning to her death, because it will help others. "If you're going to have something like this as a loss in your life, you want to have as much meaning to it as possible, because that life to lose is terrible, in itself, that if you can attach something tremendous to it, it makes it slightly more bearable." Sawyer has been working with members of the legislature to make the passing of Kaylee's Law a reality, and he thanked those assembled for all their work. "Being able to do something truly noble, righteous, and monumental in honor of Kaylee, to help others, has helped soften some of our pain and loss."
Oregon's Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum was also on-hand for the signing , and she says the passage of Kaylee's Law is healing for the Bend community, as it will protect those whose lives are touched by violent crime. "I am very involved in the whole issue of an advocacy for victims and survivors of crimes, and it takes a village to help to heal. So, even if nothing else came of it, and it will, that would be enough." For Rosenblum, being in Bend gives her mixed emotions, as she says one of her close friends was murdered near Camp Sherman more than 30 years ago. "I love this part of the state, but you know, when I come here, I've always thought of her, and now I will be thinking of Kaylee, as well. Everywhere we go, we know happy stories, we know sad stories. I will keep coming here, and I hope all the rest will be happy."
Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel says he thinks of Kaylee Sawyer every day, and is inspired by the Sawyer family's vision for this legislation. "Kaylee's death was not in vain. What her father did, and her family did to ensure that her death makes other students safer, is inspiring, and that's what we came together to celebrate."
Kaylee's Law was unanimously passed by the Oregon Legislature in May.