Email from the interim chief of OSU’s new Police

Thanks to a reader for forwarding. Lots of stuff about community and transparency, but no mention of what sort of weaponry they will be armed with:

Dear OSU community members,

The Department of Public Safety wants you to know that we feel the pain, the outrage and the impact of the tragic and avoidable death of George Floyd. As a country, we have witnessed too many examples of this racist behavior, and it continues today despite demands from the public for police reform.

I am writing today to share my commitment and approach to community partnerships within the OSU community.

At this time, each of us bears the societal responsibility to do everything in our power to change the abhorrent reality confronting communities plagued with systemic inequality and discrimination against the Black community and other communities of color. We must rise and speak out. If not we are bystanders to prejudice, and we must commit to educating all on the importance of inclusivity and equality. We also need to actively protect those among us who are most vulnerable.

While I am new to Oregon State University, I know that we are a university founded on comprehensive excellence for all people. I also believe we must hold one another accountable for our actions and encourage courageous conversations about the most challenging topics that arise. And I believe that our public service foundation must be built upon trust, openness and civility to truly protect and serve our unique university community.

The foundation of public safety and law enforcement in a campus setting starts with building trust through sharing of information, being fully transparent, fostering positive and personal relationships, and maintaining daily lines of communication. I assure that at OSU, public safety will be in line with the university’s values and principles.

As OSU’s public safety leader, I shall set a clear expectation for the entire department on how we move forward with community engagement. My pledge to the university community is that we will create an approach to public safety that is friendly, caring, safe and understanding. In doing so, we will help all community members know they are welcome, safe and belong here.

We will hold all Public Safety Department employees accountable by developing measurable goals that are consistent with university values and build a system to ensure greater effectiveness and accountability to the OSU community through training, discipline, and commitment to achieve results.

One of my first initiatives will be to create a Community Oriented Results and Expectation Committee (CORE). The purpose of this committee is to collaborate with OSU community members to address their issues and concerns through cooperative effort and review of community needs, and by discussing expectations and responses relative to public safety services, quality-of-life issues and community-oriented policing. In the days and weeks ahead, I will continue to share my developing concepts and plans for public safety and Corvallis campus police services, and seek and listen to input from students, faculty and staff. Before then, I want the OSU community to know that I hear your concerns regarding Black Lives Matter, racial inequality and policing nationally. Please know that I will engage you in creating public safety and community policing services that represents what is best for the university, students, faculty and staff.

As a member of the OSU community myself – and in my role leading public safety – I look forward to building a personal and trusting working relationship with our student cultural resource centers, leaders within student government and all students, faculty and staff.

In closing, I want you to know that I chose to become a police officer 30 years ago after witnessing first-hand, the mistreatment of my father by police. I made a commitment to make a positive difference and be a public servant for my community.

I believed then – just as I believe now – that through transparency, accountability and collaboration with the very communities that we collectively serve, we can provide appropriate, trusted and valued community and public safety services. I remain committed to safety, diversity and inclusivity for all, and I am fully committed to help rebuild the law enforcement community across America into a noble and trusted profession.

Working together with university community members and collaborators, I am confident that we will set an exemplary standard and lead the way. Please join me in this effort and I invite you to reach out to me personally at Edgar.Rodriguez@oregonstate.edu.

Respectfully,

Edgar Rodriguez
Interim Associate Vice President of Public Safety and Chief of Police

OSU Department of Public Safety
Division of Finance and Administration
Oregon State University
200 Cascade Hall
Corvallis, OR 97333
Ph: 541-737-3010

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10 Responses to Email from the interim chief of OSU’s new Police

  1. Fishwrapper says:

    OSU will extend OSP coverage of campus until December 31, to allow time for a transition that includes “…community dialogue and engagement sessions to design future Corvallis campus public safety services and programs that are based on OSU community values and needs, and the educational mission of the university.” Ed Ray sent a Parthian shot across campus with the news today:

    As a community, we will design a public safety program that includes Corvallis campus law enforcement services that provide for community oversight, accountability, transparency, ongoing community engagement and conversation, ongoing training, and a commitment to advancing inclusivity, diversity and justice, and ending bias in law enforcement. In doing so, we will change and continue to improve public safety within the university.

    Community outreach sessions to help design public safety services will be held throughout July. Meanwhile, Edgar Rodriguez, OSU’s new associate vice president of public safety, will engage personally in meetings with the Associated Students of Oregon State University, the offices of Diversity and Cultural Engagement, including the seven student cultural resource centers, Equal Opportunity Access and Institutional Diversity, the Faculty Senate, student-athletes and many other faculty, staff and student organizations.

  2. OSU Faculty says:

    Note that while he mentions “hearing” the BLM movement, at no point does he explicitly say that black lives matter. How is it possible that Nascar is more progressive than an R1 public safety department?

    I’m simply astounded that OSU is moving forward with their plans to create an armed militia on campus. When I am forced to return to campus in the fall, it isn’t COVID that I’ll be fearing most.

    • Fishwrapper says:

      Well, if this helps any,

      We are all learning together. None of us is perfect. None of us always gets it right. But we pledge to you; OSU’s Black students, faculty, graduates, and community members, that we will show up for this struggle, and we stand by our friends, students, colleagues, and fellow humans when they are attacked or undermined, when they are subject to daily insults or systemic oppression, when they are belittled or made to feel unseen. We pledge that, when we get it wrong, we will listen to those whose lived experiences will help us get it right. We pledge that on this ground we stand on, which was taken illegally from the ancestors of the Nine Sovereign Nations of Oregon’s native peoples, we will recognize the rights and dignity inherent in each of us, no matter what our background, abilities or ideas.

      • Fishwrapper says:

        And this: https://youtu.be/2BSXj9os4EI (embedding didn’t work in that other one, I guess.)

      • OSU Faculty says:

        Because nothing says “we will recognize the rights and dignity inherent in each of us” quite like an armed militia that’s not accountable to any democratically elected official.

        • uomatters says:

          No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner;

        • Fishwrapper says:

          So here’s the question, and I wonder, OSU Faculty, have you asked it? Will OSU police be armed?</em< There's nothing to say that police officers must always carry a sidearm; indeed, in many places around the globe the standard is to not carry, or carry non-lethal defensive weapons instead of firearms. The training behind this leads officers to direct their activities first towards discussion and de-escalation. I should imagine this query coming from faculty would carry more weight than, say, those of us in the peanut gallery. Perhaps contact your Senate president to help carry this weighty question forward to your new chief and your new president…

          • Fishwrapper says:

            My most sincere apology for the bad tag. (Cleanup in aisle six…)

          • AnonNTTF says:

            “Unarmed police” are not police. They cannot keep their certifications as peace officers in the United States. You’re thinking of security guards who have no authority to do anything but call 9-1-1.

            Even many of the most progressive nations in the world have armed police (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, frex). The only nations with (generally) unarmed police off the top of my head are the UK, Ireland, Iceland and NZ. The later is reconsidering that policy.

            • Fishwrapper says:

              To achieve certification in this state, and most, an officer must receive and pass training in use of force, firearms handling, and a few other bits of edumification about being armed. Being certified to use force is not a requirement to carry a weapon on one’s hip when on duty, on patrol, etc.; that is, in most cases, a departmental policy decision.

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