PSU reverses course: Campus police will be unarmed

Multnomah County

Decision comes after 'listening to many voices'

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Noting they “listened to many voices across our campus,” Portland State University President Stephen Percy and Campus Police Chief Willie Haliburton announced officers would not be carrying firearms when they patrol the campus beginning in September.

PSU officials will hold a press conference at 2 p.m. Thursday to discuss this decision.

“The calls for change that we are hearing at PSU are ringing out across our nation,” Percy wrote. “We must find a new way to protect the safety of our community, one that eliminates systemic racism and promotes the dignity of all who come to our urban campus.”

Halliburton said the unarmed campus patrols are “an important first step in building a new approach to campus safety.”

They also announced they would “Reimagine Campus Safety,” which is described as an effort to look at all aspects of campus safety and devise a new approach.

Officers have been carrying guns on campus since 2015.

This decision by PSU officials comes about 2 months after campus protesters renewed their efforts to disarm campus police. The previous move to disarm campus officers at PSU followed the shooting death of Jason Washington in 2018.

It also comes about a month after Halliburton became chief of PSU Campus Public Safety. He’s been with PSU for 5 years following more than 20 years with PPB.

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