Kaylee’s Law Boosts Protections for Oregon’s College Students

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BEND– Governor Kate Brown held a held a signing ceremony for SB 576, also known as Kaylee’s Law, today. She was joined by Kaylee’s family, justice and law enforcement officials, and legislators at the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office.

The legislation was sparked by the murder of Kaylee Sawyer at the hands of an on-duty Central Oregon Community College security officer in July of 2016.

Despite weathering this tragedy, Kaylee’s family took initiative and advocated for lawmakers to adopt policy that protects Oregon students. Kaylee’s Law is aimed at expanding regulations and limitations on security personnel at college campuses. 

Key components of the bill include background and psychological checks on potential security recruits, along with regulations aimed to limit any resemblance of security personnel to law enforcement officers.  

The legislation carried broad support with 24 sponsors and was introduced at the request of Kaylee’s parent’s, Crystal and Jamie Sawyer, along with Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police, Oregon State Sheriff’s Association, Oregon Student’s Association, Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel, and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. 

Kaylee’s Law passed unanimously in the Legislature.

On passage of the legislation, Governor Brown said, “Oregon has a citizen legislature, and this bill is an example of when Oregon is at its best—when communities bring solutions forward.”

She also thanked Kaylee’s family for advocacy on the bill, “They worked tirelessly to bring meaningful change to their community after a horrible tragedy befell their family.”

The legislation marks a step forward in ensuring student safety, so “this never happens to a promising Oregonian again.” 

The law mandates extensive national criminal history checks for security personnel, and also requires them to undergo psychological testing to ensure they are fit for duty.

To boost security measures, the law requires vehicles operated by campus security to have GPS systems, front-facing cameras, maintain a dispatch system,  and bars them from having bumpers intended to ram another car or car cages. Colleges will also be required to hold a record of the cameras, GPS systems, and call-logs for 90 days.

SB 576 also ensures that campus security in no-way resembles law enforcement by not allowing red or blue lights on vehicles, requiring clear signage identifying them as campus security, and mandating that their uniform can be easily differentiated with that of law enforcement.

About Author

Efren Zamudio is a Strategic Communications Summer Fellow in the Office of Governor Kate Brown.

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