Though Campus Public Safety (CPS) officers at Pacific University do not currently carry firearms, CPS Manager Jerry Rice said the idea has been discussed and thought upon. However, before Rice would invest CPS funds in guns, he would sooner invest in additional staffing and training.
“Before I would want to get guns, I would actually rather have more officers,” Rice said. “Or I would rather have a bigger budget for training, so things of that nature could happen on a more frequent and constant schedule.”
The number of CPS officers on staff at Pacific this year has remained static from previous years, however, Rice said having to refill three officer positions during the fall semester caused things to slow down, as necessary training was required to get new officers up to speed.
“All new officers go through seven to eight weeks of training before they do a solo shift,” Rice said. “And that training is widely variant, from getting them used to buildings and keys, patrol procedures and officer safety protocol, all those types of things.”
According to Rice, training for CPS officers is constantly ongoing. And this spring, CPS officers will receive additional training in mental health awareness and trauma informed interviews.
The CPS office is currently in the process of preparing the Forest Grove campus for its active event preparedness drills, after having completed evacuation drills on the campus in the fall.
“Lockdown drills are part of an active response event, because the three tiers of how we train and respond is run, hide or fight,” Rice said. “So in a lockdown situation, we’re practicing the hide.”
This year, for the first year ever at the Forest Grove campus, the CPS office will attempt to utilize the Boxer Alert system to provide students, faculty and staff, with live notifications of where active event preparedness drills are taking place in real time.
Though the Boxer Alert system is already utilized for drills on the Hillsboro campus, Rice said the Forest Grove campus’s size creates some difficulties.
“It’s really hard with the Boxer Alert System, the Forest Grove campus is a lot larger and we don’t have as many volunteers,” Rice said. “We’re trying to get the training in while being mindful of the classes going on, having as little disruption as possible and also the most participation as possible.”
Earlier in the semester Rice and other CPS officers took time out of their days to meet with students and answer any the questions they had during “Coffee with CPS.”
“I think it went well for the first event,” Rice said. “I hope this will become more of a one semester type thing. I would like to see this sort of dialogue continue going on.”
At this year’s “Coffee with CPS,” Rice encouraged students to stay safe and reinforced the concept, “see something, say something.”