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COCC extends Bend Patrol Services contract amid security staffing shortages

(Update: Adding video, comments)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Central Oregon Community College Board of Directors agreed Wednesday evening to continue an emergency month-to-month contract with Bend Patrol Services to help with security staffing shortages on campus.

Back in the spring of 2020, COCC moved forward with an emergency contract with BPS while the college works with an external consultant to help provide recommendations for the future of the Campus Public Safety Department.

COCC says due to "unforeseen circumstances," the consultant's recommendations are taking longer than initially anticipated, so the college is now continuing with a month-to-month agreement until the consultants' report is ready for review.

COCC Director of Marketing and Public Relations Jenn Kovitz says the college wants to avoid prematurely hiring officers until the recommendations are complete.

Kovitz says the goal is to improve the future of safety on campus through proper training and workplace culture.

In March, the college placed all of its security officers on paid administrative leave, pending what was to be a month-long, third-party review of the department's operations, but did not reveal what sparked the moves.

The board Wevening evening also approved a price hike for on-campus meal plan rates for students.

The plans range from to 7 to 19 meals a week, with an increase of 4.5%.

Kovitz says the school proposed the change based on the current Consumer Price Index, but tuition and other fees will stay the same.

The board will also name Room 305 at the Redmond campus Building No. 3 after longtime board member Anthony "Tony" Dorsch.

Board Chair Alan Unger explained the reason behind the honorary naming.

"Tony was one of the few board members that has been a board member serving the college for 20 years," Unger said. "This is an acknowledgment for that service that in the past the board has acknowledged and supported." 

Unger says the board will determine a process for next steps.

Dorsch served on the COCC Board of Directors from 1997-2017.

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Alec Nolan

Alec Nolan is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Alec here.

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