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SOU uniform change brings ambiguity

Can I Arrest


Southern Oregon University | Public Safety Department

No. The four full-time SOU officers wear either dark blue uniforms or khaki shirts and brown bottoms. Six part-time student officers have the brown uniforms, though the entire department will probably transition to the blues by the time classes resume at the end of September.

SOU officers, who drive vehicles similar to Ashland police patrol cars, only have jurisdiction over the university campus and have limited authority. They are not armed, but do carry handcuffs, a baton, pepper spray, a flashlight and a radio that connects to Ashland police dispatchers.

The officers can cite people on-campus for violations through the Ashland Municipal Court, such as minor in possession of alcohol, trespassing and possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. For more serious incidents, SOU officers call in Ashland police.


They have limited authority under state law,&

said Steve Ross, the co-head of SOU public safety. &

But they can, if the need arises, make probable cause arrests."

Ashland Police Department | Patrol Department

Yes. Sworn APD patrol officers and management wear navy blue uniforms, although the detective division works in street clothes.

Patrol officers and sergeants drive Ashland police cruisers and SUVs. The traffic officer, who deals with traffic citations and motor vehicle accidents, rides the department&

s motorcycle.

All carry weapons, in addition to handcuffs, batons, pepper spray and flashlights, and have the power to arrest people. They patrol in the Ashland area, although their jurisdiction can stretch beyond city limits in certain situations.

Ashland Police Department | Volunteers

No. Two groups of volunteer officers augment the ranks of the Ashland Police Department.

The retired senior volunteer force wears gray uniforms and drives the old APD Jeep Cherokees. They spend time on foot patrol downtown, conducting vacation house checks, providing security for special events, serving as couriers to the Jackson County District Attorney and Sheriff's Departments, overseeing the reader board (digital radar readout) in traffic areas of concern, patrolling satellite city parks and providing wildland/urban interface patrols during severe fire seasons. The seniors are not allowed to do any enforcement, although they carry radios that connect to APD officers.

Volunteers also patrol the bike path within city limits. Those riders wear gray polo shirts that say &

volunteer police&

and also carry radios while on patrol. They don&

t do any enforcement, but remind people of the law and serve as a resource for bike path users.

For information on how to become a police volunteer, contact Frank d&

Entremont at 482-5211 weekdays between 8 a.m. and noon.

Ashland Police Department | Parks Patrol

No. During the summer months, two full-time officers and seven part-timers patrol the Ashland parks. They wear the old APD light blue uniform tops and dark shorts or pants to differentiate themselves from sworn officers.

They are usually on foot, walking the trails in Lithia Park or the paths in any of the 17 other city-owned parks. The crew also has a golf cart-style vehicle to motor around in.

Park patrol officers are not sworn officers, do not carry a weapon and cannot arrest anyone. Rather, they are meant to be ambassadors of the parks who can also monitor for city code violations, such as prohibited camping or having alcohol in the park. Officers are only allowed to cite people inside city parks.

They do carry radios, which dial into the Ashland dispatch system. With the push of a button, park patrol officers can call in APD back-up.