In 2016, there were 143 Police officers killed nationwide. According to Political Science and Criminal Justice Instructor and spouse of a Bend officer, Roxie Supplee, this number indicates a 163% increase in officer deaths over previous years.
“Their families suffer so that yours is safe,” said Supplee.
Central Oregon Community College’s Criminal Justice Club hosted the 7th annual Police Memorial in Wille Hall on May 16, 2017, in which Supplee and Police Chief James Porter explained the various sacrifices that Police officers make every day.
“Officers are under attack only for wearing the badge,” said Supplee. She went on to say that the increase seen in 2016 is the highest level of Police officer deaths in ambush style attacks is the greatest it has been in five years.
Porter mentioned a recent study done by Portland State University in which Bend residents were asked if they trusted their local Police Department. Only 4% of Bend residents reported trusting the Police Department. He went on to explain that the Bend PD believes that they are protectors of civil rights and that use of force within Bend’s local department is usually due to intoxication or mental health crises.
“When you see an officer, he’s there to protect your rights – not take them away,” stated Porter.
The Police Chief ended his speech by mentioning that the Bend PD currently employs many officers who got their start at COCC. “We employ you guys,” he said.
Kathy McCabe of the Criminal Justice department is also the advisor of the club. She stated that the Criminal Justice Club hosts the memorial to bring attention to the dangers involved with being a Police officer. First year club member Melissa Espinoza also commented, “We do it to honor those who have served.”
If you are interested in joining the Criminal Justice Club visit: https://www.cocc.edu/criminal-justice/ or contact Kathy McCabe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By McKayla Schneider | The Broadside