When Kaylee Sawyer was offered a ride in 2016 by Edwin Lara, then a Central Oregon Community College campus safety officer, Lara’s uniform looked like a police uniform.
His vehicle looked like a police vehicle. He had a cage in the back of his SUV, like a police vehicle, which he used to keep Sawyer from escaping. Lara raped and killed her.
Senate Bill 576, sponsored by Sen. Tim Knopp, R-Bend, attempts to make college campuses safer from such incidents. It should become law. The bill is scheduled for a hearing on Wednesday.
The bill requires that colleges do nationwide criminal background checks on campus security officers. It enables law enforcement to share information on job applicants for campus security positions. It requires that the uniforms worn by campus security be clearly distinguishable from certified police officers.
It has other requirements for campus security vehicles: They must have global positioning systems and cameras that record what happens in the vehicles. The bill also prohibits cages and bumpers designed to ram other vehicles.
The bill clarifies that campus security must promptly notify law enforcement when campus security makes an arrest. And it makes clear that campus security do not have the authority to stop and frisk people.
Oregon’s college campuses need to provide security for their students, staff and visitors. Some use certified police officers. Some use people who have not had the same level of professional training as police officers.
Both can be valid options. But SB 576 provides important standards that should be adopted.