Summer Incidents Raise Questions about Security Alerts
Public Safety (campus security) encountered five criminal incidents on or near PCC campuses this summer. According to the Public Safety website, three incidents occurred on the Cascade campus in August, the details of which are available to the public. Other sources reported two additional incidents, one near Cascade on August 10 and another near Southeast on September 14. What follows is a brief introduction of the security protocol when criminal activity occurs on or near campus.
Public Safety conducts investigations of on-campus property crimes where there is no suspect information, while Portland Police or Washington County area police investigate all person crimes and crimes with suspect information to follow up. Notifications known as Safety Alerts and timely warnings are issued by Public Safety following criminal activity as well. The protocols regarding these notifications are outlined on the Public Safety website which states:
“Whether to issue a timely warning or a PCC Safety Alert (and the content of the messages) is decided on a case-by-case basis, considering all the facts, including the nature of the incident, the continuing danger to the campus community, the promotion of safety, and the possible risk of compromising law enforcement efforts.”
According to Public Safety Director Derrick Foxworth, the number one factor considered in determining the response to criminal incidents is college safety and that the Clery Act is the guidepost for gauging the specific measure of the response. He told The Bridge, “Upon any report, by any party, of a person with a weapon on or near campuses, Public Safety will act with an abundance of caution, even calling 911 in all events and, after considering the circumstances, a lockout or lockdown may be employed.”
On August 10, an armed man at the In and Out Market was monitored closely by campus security and police were alerted to the situation as a preemptive measure. When the man left the area the threat level dissipated, and a timely warning was deemed unnecessary.
Public Safety became aware of an incident that prompted a temporary lockout of the Southeast campus on September 14. A man who attempted to rob the Bank of the West adjacent to the Southeast campus was arrested by Portland Police a few blocks from campus. The lockout, which is a “response […] taken to protect the campus from the person who is believed to be a risk or danger to the campus […]” concluded when campus officials became aware that the man was arrested. The response and the results led campus officials to believe that a timely warning was unnecessary.