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.