At first public forum, UOPD officers give their reasons for wanting guns

Posted by Ian Campbell on Monday, Feb. 11 at 8:17 pm.

While plans begin to form and conversations about arming the University of Oregon Police Department become more and more controversial, a public forum was held on Monday in the Global Scholars Hall to offer community members a chance to ask questions.

Many of the questions targeted why guns were actually needed on campus.

“I’ve never seen a reason to have a gun involved on campus,” one audience member said.

According to Captain Pete Deshpande, under the current system, officers are unable to perform seemingly routine tasks because they do not have the proper tools to be entering those situations.

“It really isn’t about what a gun can do, but what it an enables our officers to like — like making routine traffic stops,” Deshpande said. “It’s not a gun that’s going to solve anything, it’s just a tool that can help us.”

After a question citing the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, Interim Police Chief Carolyn McDermed spoke out on the importance of arming a campus officer.

“In the case of VT, it was campus officers that stopped the action,” McDermed said. “The shooter had locked the door with a padlock, but the campus officers knew of a side door.”

Throughout the next month, more opportunities to discuss the potential move will arise over campus. The next campus forum will happen on Feb. 26, 4:30 — 6 p.m. in the EMU Fir Room.

In addition, there will be a forum at the next ASUO Senate meeting on Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. in the Walnut Room.

  • @Norwescritor

    Cops don’t carry guns to protect citizens, they carry guns to protect themselves.

    • Nick Ekblad
    • anonymous

      “Cops don’t carry guns to protect citizens, they carry guns to protect themselves.” And that is a problem why? The cops are the ones that go out and contact the people that everyone else won’t. They are the ones that have to deal with the thieves, rapists, murderers, drunk, mentally ill, and sometimes just crazy people on a regular basis. What do you do when someone steals from you or attacks you? What do you do when someone is breaking into your home?Oh yeah, call the cops. But don’t give them a gun because they aren’t protecting anyone but themselves. Do you know the criminals they have to interact with every day? And yet you whine because they carry guns “to protect themselves”? When did self preservation become a crime? Stop whining and wake up. Police carry guns to protect others, as well as themselves. No point in carrying a gun if the cops could only use it when someone’s life, other than the officer’s, was in danger. There would be a lot of dead cops once the bad guys start thinking “Hey they can’t shoot me because I am threatening them, and not citizens.” Bunch of morons.

  • anon

    There are strong arguments on both sides of this issue. However I think the UOPD needs to be armed for the “just in case” situations. Our campus is open, meaning anyone can come here at any time. As far as I’m aware the UO is one of the last large public universities to not have an armed PD as well – I think this is testament to other campuses realizing the difficult truth that in order for the police department to be legitimate and be able to control dangerous situations they need weapons.

  • Zachary Vishanoff

    Did the Emerald ever consider covering this fact……last year the UO threatened the future of the West University neighborhood sub station by refusing the yearly contract $ for a time ? A radio show ran with the story and UO gradually learned that getting rid of the favorite cop in this area was not a good plan. This year they are threatening to do the same thing. Is there any way what is left of your reporting mission could focus on a detailed issue such as that ?