OSU expressed ‘displeasure’ after Oregon State Police trooper refused to wear mask in establishment

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Teresita Guzman Nader, News Reporter

After a trooper from the Oregon State Police refused to wear a mask inside a local coffee shop, Oregon State University expressed feeling displeased with the trooper’s behavior, and set expectations for the OSU community and its contractors.

On July 1, an OSP trooper refused to wear a mask inside of Allan’s Coffee & Tea located in Corvallis, Ore.—despite Gov. Kate Brown’s executive order to wear a face covering inside establishments. 

Timothy Fox, Captain of the Oregon State Police said the trooper is currently on paid administrative leave.

“All troopers are aware of the Governor’s Executive Order and will be wearing face masks in indoor public spaces as required,” Fox said.

Michael J. Green, vice president for finance and administration and chief financial officer at Oregon State University said the university does not manage troopers employed by Oregon State Police.

“In the case of state troopers refusing to wear face masks in a Corvallis business, we immediately communicated our displeasure regarding this behavior to leaders within the Oregon State Police,” Green said.

Green said that the university expects OSU faculty, staff, students and all contractors, including OSP troopers to follow the state and OSU’s policies regarding face covering. 

“We understand that OSP took immediate action to discipline the trooper who disrespected the governor and the state’s face-covering restriction,” Green said. “We also understand the three other officers engaged in this event later met with the governor and apologized for their actions.”

On June 30, Ed Ray, OSU’s president emeritus announced the university extended its contract with Oregon State Police through December 31, 2020. The university plans to transition from contracted law enforcement services provided by OSP, to OSU’s very own in-house police force.

“But he shared with the university community that mindful of a change in policing required in America—and emphasized by the killing of George Floyd by police, OSU put on hold the creation of the university’s own law enforcement team until engaging the university community in dialogue and public safety design programs,” Green said. “Until Dec. 31, OSP will continue to provide response to criminal and emergency matters, such as robbery, sexual assault, vehicle accidents, building and vehicle break-ins, and other reports of violence against people.”

Green said in the weeks ahead, Edgar Rodriguez, associate vice president for public safety, is holding meetings with more than two dozen OSU students, faculty, staff and community groups. Other OSU community meetings on public safety and law enforcement will be held to gain community input and share safety plans and concepts.

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