DPS brings guns on campus to begin training

The Department of Public Safety has purchased and is currently using firearms as a part of its training process to become an official police force.

The guns, which are being used solely for training purposes, were ordered back in November after Lariviere signed a directive that authorized the creation of an official police force.

“Part of that document required DPS to acquire firearms for the certification, re-certification and training and skills maintained,” Chief Doug Tripp@@ said. “As a part of the certification process, we must provide weapons.”

The guns are being stored in a gun vault in the UODPS East Station@@[email protected]@ and are only on officers during training. All of that training is occurring in other locations off campus, such as the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem.@@[email protected]@

“Their weapons are secured at all times unless they are out for training,” Tripp said. “Our police officers will not utilize them in any other situation.”

ASUO Vice President Katie Taylor@@[email protected]@ found out about the guns on campus after a meeting with the University’s Policing Implementation Advisory Group, which she is a part of. This committee is dedicated to making the policing transition as smooth as possible; however, Taylor was disappointed in the lack of communication about the weapons.

“I think that students should know that DPS has purchased guns,” Taylor said. “DPS has done nothing to inform students.”@@emerald to the [email protected]@

Due to the controversy surrounding whether the DPS will be allowed to carry guns, Taylor felt it disrespectful this purchase was hidden.

“The purchasing of weapons by the Department is a flagrant act of disrespect toward the students at the UO as well as the legislature.”

Tripp argued this has always been a part of the process, and that process will proceed.

“Until the point in the process in which a discussion occurs, the process will stay more day-to-day,” Tripp said. “When it does occur, the entire University community will be engaged in the conversation.”

According to Jamie Moffitt@@[email protected]@, the director of the advisory group, information about this step was sent out months ago.

“I’m surprised because we had a memo that talked about weapons to be purchased that was sent out to people, including student representatives,” Moffitt said. “This information has been out.”

Officers will not be seen around campus with firearms, and discussions will continue over the next few years about when they can officially carry guns.

“Anytime anyone has a concern, they can call the Department,” Tripp said. “It is an incredibly important transition, and we hope to be very transparent with our process.”

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