PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Nearly 1,500 Portland State University students got a true Portland welcome as it rained on dorm move-in day.
Also there to welcome the new college students was campus police officer, Peter Ward.
Ward worked as a police officer in Liverpool, England for 32 years before moving to Portland to be near his kids. He started working at PSU in 2012 and on Sept. 17, he greeted new students in his old police uniform.
“Most people recognize me as an English bobby, although a few people thought I was just in fancy dress,” Ward said. “But it is my old uniform and it gives an opportunity for conversation.”
Earlier this year, hundreds of students walked out of class to protest the arming of campus security guards, and tension between students and security continued to build throughout the year.
Ward hopes to develop a more friendly relationship with the incoming students and focus on creating a neighborhood community. He also knows what a comfort it can be for parents to know there’s a good public safety community when they leave their kids at school.
“I have 3 daughters who went to university and I know what a traumatic experience it can be for parents,” Ward said. “I think it’s valuable that we as police officers — and we’re not really police officers, we’re members of the family of the university — we’re family members and I’m here to welcome new family members into the fold and tell them that we’re available for them if they have any issues or even for just conversation.”