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Public Hearing to Discuss Having Armed Officers on OHSU Campus

Task force considering current authorities, additional training for university officers

Following the tragic school shootings at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois universities, Oregon Health & Science University has been evaluating its readiness to respond to such an incident. As part of this process, OHSU President Joe Robertson, M.D., M.B.A., established a public task force to consider the university’s risk and whether additional steps, including potentially having an armed presence on campus, are necessary to ensure the continued safety of the OHSU community.

The Critical Incident Readiness Task Force has met twice and is scheduled to hear public testimony Thursday, Oct. 23, from 6 to 8 p.m. at University Place, 310 S.W. Lincoln St., Portland.

The task force includes representatives from local law enforcement and government, Portland-area residents, patients and employees, and others. The group also includes a member of the recently created Governor’s Task Force on Campus Safety in Oregon to ensure the two groups are sharing information.
The OHSU task force is charged with reviewing the institution’s readiness to respond to critical incidents, including an active shooter, at facilities on OHSU’s Marquam Hill, South Waterfront and West campuses with the goal of reducing risk and enhancing safety for patients, visitors, students and staff.

The group has been asked to make recommendations to President Robertson by Friday, Nov. 14. With this review and recommendations in hand, OHSU leadership may choose to take additional steps to ensure the continued safety of the OHSU community.

“The process of reviewing and improving our safety preparedness will be transparent and collaborative,” explained Robertson. “OHSU serves the entire state, and we have tens of thousands of visitors each year. The public, our employees and other stakeholders need to be part of the discussion and the solution.” 

People unable to attend the meeting who are interested in providing input can fill out a brief online survey.

About OHSU Public Safety
Public safety officers oversee the safety of OHSU staff and visitors at three locations (Marquam Hill, South Waterfront and West campuses), two of which receive more than 2,000 patient visitors a day.  Officers patrol all parts of OHSU, including the Emergency Department, hospitals, clinics and research labs – an area covering more than 400 acres. 

About OHSU
Oregon Health & Science University is the state’s only health and research university, and Oregon’s only academic health center. OHSU is Portland's largest employer and the fourth largest in Oregon (excluding government), with 12,400 employees. OHSU's size contributes to its ability to provide many services and community support activities not found anywhere else in the state. It serves patients from every corner of the state, and is a conduit for learning for more than 3,400 students and trainees. OHSU is the source of more than 200 community outreach programs that bring health and education services to every county in the state.

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