(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University’s Campus Public Safety officers may occasionally be seen in downtown Ashland beginning this week, citing people for smoking, intrusive panhandling and other minor infractions as part of a new training program with Ashland Police.
CPS officers, who typically work on or adjacent to the SOU campus, are authorized by the Ashland Municipal Code to serve as code compliance officers throughout the city and issue citations for those who violate provisions of the city code – the same as Ashland Police Department’s Central Area Patrol officers.
But the SOU officers don’t get a high volume of citation-writing work on their home turf, and newly hired officers sometimes struggle with the nuances of dealing with code-violators. That isn’t an issue for the city’s CAP officers – particularly in the downtown area.
So Ashland Police Chief Tighe O’Meara and SOU Campus Public Safety Director Andrew MacPherson have agreed to a training partnership: newly hired CPS officers will begin shadowing Ashland’s CAP officers, who will serve as code violation mentors. The SOU officers will learn from their city counterparts, and become better prepared for enforcement actions on and near campus.
“SOU is an integral part of our community, and cooperation and collaboration with them can only yield overall positive results,” said Ashland City Administrator Kelly Madding, who approved the new program.
SOU’s officers will never work by themselves in downtown Ashland. But after a period of time working with and observing city officers, the CPS officers will likely begin initiating contact with suspected code-violators – under the watch of their mentors from the city’s police department.
“This is a great opportunity for our public safety officers to get intensive training in some situations that don’t happen all that often on campus,” said MacPherson, SOU’s director of public safety. “With this training, they’ll be prepared when those situations do happen, and in the meantime we’re strengthening the solid relationship we already have with Ashland Police.”