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Home > State > Executive > Dept of Public Safety Standards and Training > Agency History

Dept of Public Safety Standards and Training: Agency History

This building on a large campus southeast of Salem houses the central offices of the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training. (Oregon State Archives Photo)

This building on a large campus southeast of Salem houses the central offices of the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training. (Oregon State Archives Photo)

DPSST home


Written 2000


The Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) is responsible for public safety training and certification programs for the state of Oregon. Its mission is "to promote excellence in public safety through the development of professional standards and the delivery of quality training."


DPSST's constituency includes more than 32,000 public safety providers in many different public safety specialties within law enforcement, corrections, parole and probation, telecommunications, fire services, private security, and polygraph examination. The agency is currently headquartered in Monmouth, Oregon although a bid for proposal has been issued to find the agency another home to accommodate the growth in the diverse services they provide.


In 1958, the Oregon-Washington Lawman's Association (an ad-hoc coalition of police professionals) began work to elevate the status and requirements for Oregon law enforcement officers. Three years later, the Advisory Board on Police Standards and Training (BPST) was created by the Oregon Legislative Assembly and signed into law by Governor Hatfield. Nine board members were appointed by the Governor to a four year term and the Deputy Superintendent of State Police was designated as the Executive Director (1961 Oregon Law 721).


Initially BPST worked to set minimum standards for "physical, emotional, intellectual, and moral fitness" for peace officers in Oregon (except for State Police). The first basic police officer training was conducted in October of 1961 for two weeks at Camp Withycombe in Clackamas County.


From fall 1961 through 1967, BPST focused on training city and county law enforcement officers. Basic police training was extended to three weeks in 1964, and again in 1967 to four weeks in length.


In 1968, the Legislative Assembly made two significant changes to the Board. The Board lost its advisory status and police officer training and certification became mandatory. The law (1968 Oregon Law, Chapter 305) also stipulated that all city and county police officers could not serve for more than one year without BPST certification. In late 1968 and early 1969 there was a dramatic expansion of the curriculum offered by the Board. Courses in Management, Supervision, and Command/Executive were all introduced at this time, each being one week in length.


1969 also brought more legislative changes that granted the Board the ability to revoke officer certification for reasons including the violation of any of the standards outlined in ORS 181.610 to 181.705 (1969 Oregon Law, Chapter 609). BPST was also given the authority to assess law enforcement agencies and provide administrative advice in order to improve the quality of law enforcement service statewide.


In the early 1970's, BPST saw some significant advancements in the curriculum and required courses as well as disciplines served. The Supervision course became mandatory and three levels of certification were introduced for officer certification. The Basic Police Course was increased to five weeks in length and in 1971, BPST assumed direct operational control of the Oregon Police Academy at Camp Withycombe (Clackamas County). A one week Advanced Criminology course was added to the training schedule. 1971 was also the year that the qualifications for Sheriff became effective through an act of the Legislative Assembly (1971 Oregon Law, Chapter 299). In 1971, BPST began reimbursing agencies for lost wages of officers attending BPST training.


1972 to 1974 brought change to BPST as training classes lasted longer, facilities changed, and women became involved in training provided by BPST. In July of 1972, the first female police officer completed the Basic Police Course. The next year the Basic Police Course was increased to seven weeks and the first Advanced Officer course was introduced. In June 1974, the BPST Board voted to move the Oregon Police Academy to Monmouth's College of Education campus. The move from Camp Withycombe to Monmouth was completed by August of that year.


1975 brought an increase to the technologies utilized by BPST. That year, the polygraph licensing law took effect mandating certification standards for all individuals performing polygraph (lie detector) examinations in Oregon (1975 Oregon Law, Chapter 608). 1975 also brought a technological advancement for recordkeeping. Computerized officer files were merged into the Law Enforcement Data System (LEDS), a proprietary database owned by the Oregon State Police.


Once again the types of law enforcement officers trained and certified by the board expanded. In 1975, city and county corrections officers, school district, and mass transit police all were brought under the jurisdiction of BPST (1975 Oregon Law, Chapters 290, 392, 606, and 608). In the late 1970's there were more "firsts" in the groups trained by the Board. In 1977, Indian police, railroad police, port police, and state parole and probation officers came under BPST authority (1977 Oregon Law, Chapters 382 and 737). 1978 was the year that two management courses were mandated (Middle Management Course and the Supervision Course). The first Basic Dispatcher and Basic Parole and Probation Courses were also offered that year. The late 1970's also brought the introduction of courses for the specialized aspects of law enforcement now under the jurisdiction of BPST such as dispatching and investigative hypnosis.


In 1979, BPST had a few housekeeping changes enacted by the Legislative Assembly. The law provided for local law enforcement agencies to be reimbursed when they sent appropriate staff to the Academy. Another provision in the same law authorized BPST to train support personnel and to provide career assistance to all levels of personnel from basic to executive positions (1979 Oregon Law, Chapter 410).


The 1980's were a challenging time at BPST as revenues plummeted and the Board faced some hard decisions about how to carry out their mandate. 1980 brought a change in the Board composition as two citizen members were added, bringing the Board to fourteen members. In July of that year, salary reimbursement to agencies ceased due to decreased revenues by BPST. Due to the decreased revenues, the training schedule was modified. In August of 1984, the first BPST Research Questionnaire was distributed to elicit statewide feedback on past and current programs. Through these two re-engineering processes, BPST emerged with a re-organization plan during the summer of 1985, just months before the sunset review of the Board was to begin. In June of the following year, BPST emerged from the Sunset Review that was signed by Governor Goldschmidt . The successful review effectively allowed for the continuation of BPST. 1987 was also the year that the bid was opened for the construction of a new Oregon Police Academy facility in Monmouth, Oregon.


In March of 1988, BPST moved into the completed Oregon Police Academy facility on the grounds of Western Oregon University at Monmouth. In the later months of that year, the staff first wore their new uniforms at the Academy and took delivery of a new fleet of police vehicles. The BPST/Academy facility was formally dedicated with an open house on August 19, 1988.


The 1990's began with a familiar pattern as more disciplines were added to the agency's scope of responsibility. In 1991, legislation added telecommunicators and emergency medical dispatchers to the Board's constituency. That year, the agency's name was changed to the Board of Public Safety Standards and Training and was informally known as BPSST (1991 Oregon Law, Chapter 380).


1993 brought the incorporation of fire service professionals to the Department when the Legislative Assembly abolished the Fire Standards and Accreditation Board and the State Fire Marshal's Office, Fire Training section was transferred BPSST. The same legislation created a new board for BPSST to encompass the many professions covered by the agency, including fire (1993 Oregon Law, Chapter 185). Other significant changes in 1993 included the inclusion of Oregon State Police employees and special district employees in BPSST certification and the transfer of the Community Crime Prevention Institute from the Oregon Department of Justice.


In 1995, BPSST's role expanded even further into the realm of private security providers. The Legislative Assembly passed legislation which required private security professionals and companies to be certified and established standards for revocation of such certification. The law also provided for a nine-member, Governor appointed, advisory committee to be established to make recommendations on proposed policies and procedures affecting this industry (1995 Oregon Law, Chapter 510).


By 1997, the agency had grown significantly as the certification and training agency for over 32,000 Oregon professionals who were employed in the public safety field. That year the Legislative Assembly granted the agency 'full agency' status and renamed it the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST), while retaining the services of the Governor appointed Board of Public Safety Standards and Training (BPSST).


In the late 1990's, new programs and trainings were developed for the constituents of DPSST. The Loaned Officer program began in 1998 enabling agencies to share knowledge and expertise by allowing staff to work with DPSST and other agencies. A year later, the Public Safety Memorial Fund was established to provide benefits to officers disabled in the line of duty as well as benefits to the families of officers killed in the line of duty.


In the year 2000, the Department issued a Bid for proposal for a new Public Safety Academy complex to accommodate the growing and diverse needs of the agency in training Oregon's fire and public safety officers.


The Department of Public Safety Standards and Training is comprised of three divisions, two offices, the Board, and discipline based advisory committees.


Director's Office
The Executive Director, who oversees agency staff, reports to a Governor-appointed board. The Director confers with the Governor in the appointment of a Deputy Director who assists with the overall leadership and management of the Department.


Human Resources Office
The Human Resources Office is responsible for the hiring of, benefits for, and the personnel issues of the 85 paid agency staff.


Business Services Division
The Business Services Division coordinates many of the support functions of the agency. Sections of this division include Finance, Information Systems, and Operations.


Standards and Certifications Division
The Standards and Certification Division implements the physical, emotional, moral, intellectual and fitness standards for all public safety disciplines, as established by the Board. This division certifies all public safety officers, evaluates and certifies training programs and instructors, and insures compliance with standards and training as defined in ORS 181.610-690. The division examines eligibility and training requirements for sheriff candidates as defined in ORS 206.015 and administers polygraph examiners licensing as defined in ORS 703.010-090. These programs affect over 600 state and local public safety agencies.


Basic certification must be completed within one year from the date of hire (except fire services and private security personnel) and higher levels of certification may be achieved by an accumulation of training, education, and experience.


Accreditation is a voluntary program for professional development of fire service personnel. Certificates are issued to fire fighters, fire prevention officers, fire investigators, public education officers, fire service instructors, fire apparatus drivers and operators, hazardous materials responders, fire officers and managers. Certification is based on completion of performance objectives and job experience. Some certificates require skills testing.


Training Division
The Training Division provides basic training both at a core facility located on the campus of the Western Oregon University, and through partnerships and pilot academies hosted on a limited basis by local agencies and community colleges. Advanced and specialized training is provided both at the core facility and throughout the state.


Officers (with the exception of the Fire Service and Private Security Professionals) come to the Academy from agencies throughout Oregon for basic, supervision, management, and specialized training. Fire service training is conducted regionally and as local, in-service class deliveries. Fire training programs are available to authorized personnel through a resource library at DPSST, and are developed based on the DPSST competencies, the National Fire Academy programs, and other professionally developed curricula. Training is also offered through regional training networks, throughout the state.


Private Security professionals train from a certified training curriculum. This training is administered by Certified Private Security Instructors and may be obtained through the private business or community colleges.


To attend the Academy, individuals must be employed by an Oregon public safety agency as a full-time public safety officer. Basic training, field training, and a probationary service period are required for certification (except the Fire Service and Private Security services), and must be completed within one year of employment. Field training is conducted at the individual agencies, under the supervision of a field training officer.


The Board of Public Safety Standards and Training (BPSST)
The Board of Public Safety Standards and Training consists of a 23 Governor-appointed members. Board members are selected from BPSST constituency, with one member being a citizen without affiliation to public safety. The Board meets quarterly to make decisions on agency concerns. Discipline-specific advisory committees work with constituents to make informed recommendations to the Board for action. The Governor also appoints a 23-member Board on Public Safety Standards and Training (BPSST) that represents the broad constituencies DPSST serves. The Board sets the minimum standards for physical, emotional, intellectual, and moral fitness to serve as a public safety provider in Oregon. In addition, the Board sets reasonable minimum training standards for all levels of professional development from basic training to executive leadership. The Board advises the Director, the Governor, and the Legislative Assembly of the needs of Oregon's public safety community.


Advisory Committees
The Department and the Board receive support from advisory committees for corrections, parole and probation, fire services, law enforcement, private security, and telecommunications. The advisory committees serve as the initial and primary providers of constituent input in the Board's decision-making responsibilities. The advisory committees are the communication link between the Department, Board and local public safety constituents, and their various representative associations.


The committees include the Police Advisory Committee (PAC), the Corrections Advisory Committee (CAC), and the Fire Advisory Committee (FAC). the Telecommunications Advisory Committee (TAC), the Private Security Advisory Committee (PSAC), the Polygraph Licensing Advisory Committee (PLAC), and many subcommittees on issues such as accreditation.


1958 The Oregon-Washington Lawman's Association (OWLA) is formed with one of the primary objectives being the attainment of professional status of law enforcement at a regional level.


1960 First meeting of the OWLA Training and Professionalism Committee to discuss a course of action to be taken. Members represented large and small agencies from both rural and urban Oregon communities.


1961 House Bill 1590 is signed into law by Governor Hatfield. The Advisory Board on Police Standards and Training is established and takes effect August 1, 1961. First Basic Police Course is held at Camp Withycombe in Clackamas lasting two weeks.


1968 First Management Course is held in September.


1969 First Supervision and Instructor courses held in February. First Command/Executive Course held in March. First Supervision Course was held in August. BPST headquarters moves from Commerce Building to Public Service Building (Salem) in October.


1970 First Instructor Course was held in November.


1971 Salary reimbursements to agencies begin for officers attending BPST training. BPST assumed operational control of the Oregon Police Academy in August. Sheriff's qualification law goes into effect in September. First Advanced Criminology Course is offered in November.


1972 BPST headquarters moved from Public Service Building to Executive House in March. First female officer completed Police Basic Course in July.


1973 - First Advanced Officer Course offered (Police).


1974 BPST Board voted to move the Oregon Police Academy to the Oregon College of Education campus in Monmouth on June 28th . The move occurs in August.


1975 Adair Firing Range is completed. Polygraph licensing law became effective in July. Computerized officer files added to the Law Enforcement Data System (LEDS) computer system in December.


1976 First Basic Corrections Course was held in January.


1977 First Investigative Hypnosis Course was held in May. Indian police, railroad police, port police, and state parole and probation officers fall under BPST jurisdiction in September.


1978 First Basic Dispatcher Course was held in April. First Parole and Probation Basic Course is held in July.


1979 Beginning this year, officer certificates can be revoked for a felony conviction. Department of Justice investigators fall under BPST jurisdiction as of September.


1980 Salary reimbursements to local agencies are discontinued. Newly hired police officers are required to enroll in basic training within 90 days of hire by law.


1981 Sheriff Qualification Law is revised. Community parole and probation officers fall under BPST jurisdiction, without mandatory provisions in September.


1982 The Board adopts an Administrative Rule on June 30 that requires individuals out of law enforcement for specific time spans to complete training to recertify.


1983 First Advanced Criminal Investigations Course is offered at the Academy in October.


1985 BPST headquarters staff moved into the Executive House in June. New IBM System 36 computers installed in the Salem office in July and the computerized test grading begins.


1986 Legislative Assembly authorizes a new Academy facility in May. BPST Salem staff moved to Monmouth in August, consolidating all BPST staff under one roof in time for BPST's 25th Anniversary celebration and ground breaking for the new Academy.


1987 First Campus Security Basic Course is conducted in August.


1988 Move to the new Academy facility begins on March 7. Open House and Dedication of the new BPST Academy facility occurs on August 19th.


1989 Department of Corrections added to the agency's constituency. Maaske Hall becomes part of the Oregon Police Academy facility in July.


1991 Name of the Board changes to "Board on Public Safety Standards and Training" (BPSST). Police Memorial at the Academy is dedicated with 135 names on the wall.


1992 Staff from the Oregon State Fire Marshal's office move to Monmouth and training and Fire Standards Advisory Board functions operate from the Academy.


1993 Fire Standards and Accreditation Board is merged with BPSST by legislation and responsibilities are transferred to BPSST. Two special districts (Sunriver and Black Butte) and the Oregon State Police are added to BPSST constituency. The Crime Prevention Resource Center moves from the Executive Department to BPSST.


1995 Legislative Assembly approves regulations for the private security industry, including licensure and certification through DPSST. Youth corrections are also added to the agency's scope of responsibility.


1996 Private Security is added to the Board with two seats created for the discipline.


1997 Legislation establishes the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training and responsibilities are divided between the Board and the Department.


1998 The Loaned Officer program began.

1999 DPSST instructors are required to be ce

rtified. Job Task Analysis training implemented for Parole and Probation Officers. Public Safety Memorial Fund is established.


2000 Bid for proposal is issued for a new Public Safety Academy complex and many municipalities statewide respond.


Oregon Laws
Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) Chapters:

ORS 181.610 - 181.705 - Public Safety Standards and Training Act

ORS 181.750 - 703.990 - Oregon Community Crime Prevention Information Center

ORS 206.015 - Sheriff's Qualifications Act

ORS 703.010 - Polygraph Examiners Act

Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) Chapter: OAR 259 - grants authority to Board and agency to set standards and qualifications


Board on Police Standards and Training History, December 12, 1988

Department of Public Safety Standards and Training Biennial Report, 1999

Department of Public Safety Standards and Training Business Plan, 1999-2003

Department of Public Safety Standards and Training Proposed Budget Narrative, 2001-2003

DPSST history, 1958-1996

DPSST website,