School Safety press conference
November 18, 2015
Good morning, and thank you, Sheriff Roberts.
I want to take a moment to acknowledge the work Sheriff Roberts has done as chair of the Task Force on School Safety. Sheriff Roberts and Oregon State Police Superintendent Rich Evans have chaired this task force since its formation in 2014. In keeping with Oregon’s spirit of collaboration, the task force brought together representatives from public safety and education to consider policy proposals that help ensure our public schools are safe places to learn and work.
The task force consulted many people, and my staff worked with additional experts, as part of gathering information for the final report. This report outlines recommendations for strengthening school safety. Examples include an anonymous tip line to help prevent a shooting before it happens, and creation of a database of schools’ floor plans to support the efforts of first responders. It is imperative that we implement these recommendations as quickly as possible.
When this task force was created in 2014, the focus was primarily on safety issues in Oregon’s k-12 schools. When an armed gunman shot and killed nine people on the Umpqua Community College campus, we were reminded that it is not just our k-12 schools that are potentially at risk.
While many recommendations in this report may be applicable to higher education campuses across our state, colleges and universities also have unique challenges not within the charge or purview of the task force. That is why, this afternoon, I will convene a discussion with presidents from Oregon’s public and private institutions of higher education about strengthening campus safety.
All of these efforts are necessary to ensure the safety of our students whether they attend full-day kindergarten or a university.
The work done by this task force brings us one step closer to that goal. I am grateful to everyone who served and look forward to working with you to implement the recommendations of the task force.