Oregon Community College Puts All Officers on Paid Leave

Central Oregon Community College, located in Bend, Ore., announced this week that it is putting its entire staff of public safety officers on paid administrative leave during an independent, third-party review of department operations. The university declined to comment on the immediate reason for the investigation.

COCC spokesperson Jenn Kovitz also declined to reveal how many officers were placed on leave. “The College and its employees cannot comment on the ongoing review,” she said. “However, the College’s President, Dr. Laurie Chesley, will consider media interview requests when the review is concluded, to the extend [sic] the College is legally able to comment on the review’s findings and recommendations.”

She said the review should last about a month and is set to begin this week. According to the 2019-20 COCC budget, the department has 11.3 “full-time equivalent” employees, and its budget was $946,906.

A statement from the school revealed that only about 20% of its courses are taking place on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. The university has reached out to Bend Patrol Services, which “will provide randomly timed security patrols and will notify local law enforcement in the event of an emergency.”

“Above all,” Kovitz said, “COCC’s commitment is to the safety and well-being of our students, employees, and the community at large.”

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning and Campus Security and Life Safety. He can be reached at MJones@1105media.com


  • Making Safety and Security Intrinsic to School Design

    Public anxieties about school safety are escalating across the country. According to a 2023 Gallup report, 44% of parents fear for their child’s physical safety at school, a 10 percentage-point increase since 2019. Unfortunately, these fears are likely to increase if the incidence of school tragedies continues to mount. As a result, school leaders are now charged with two non-negotiable responsibilities. The first, as always, is to ensure kids have what they need to learn, grow, and thrive. Sadly, their second responsibility is to keep the children in their care safe from threats and physical danger. Read Now

  • Unlocking Peace of Mind

    In a perfect world, every school would have an unlimited budget to help secure their schools. In reality, schools must prioritize what budget they have while navigating the complexities surrounding school security and lockdown Read Now

  • Emerging Campus Access Control Solutions

    Emerging solutions in campus access control can mean different things. Usually, we expect the topic to focus on the very latest in door security products and solutions that have just been recently released or are about to be launched. After all, staying up on improvements to keep campuses safer is critical. Plus, it’s always interesting and exciting to learn what’s new and how innovations are going to better protect lives and assets and help the industry be even more successful. Read Now

  • Here’s How Instructional Audio Can Play a Key Role in School Safety

    Ensuring the safety of students and employees is critical in today’s educational environment. While the threat of a school shooting is in the back of everyone’s mind, the truth is there are many possible scenarios that could crop up at any time in classrooms, hallways, and other school spaces—from fights or altercations to a sick child or staff member who requires emergency attention. Read Now