Split Decision: Equipped campus police provide safety

The media seems more likely to negatively sensationalize the actions of higher education officers than recognize the difficulty and often political nature of their job.

In light of the recent event involving the use of chemical agents at the University of California, Davis, questions arose about what procedures campus officers follow and what instruments they are allowed to deal with such situations.

In particular, the procedures for campus police here at Cosumnes River College.

While the use of firearms or chemical agents to subdue those threatening campus safety and security should not be wielded too freely, they are appropriate tools with which campus officers are trained to utilize if need be.

In 2002, CRC campus police officers could not respond to a situation involving a student wielding a gun at a men’s basketball game because they were unarmed. Although no one was injured, Sacramento Police had to be called in to handle the situation.

The simple fact that our own officers could not ensure campus safety because they were ill-equipped supports the obvious fact that it is a necessity for officers to be armed in order to do their job.

Across the nation, incidents have arose that require armed campus officer attention.

In early November, a former student at North Carolina University walked onto campus brandishing a semiautomatic rifle, and had campus officers not been armed and able to subdue the aggressor, the outcome would have likely been much more dastardly.

A bill passed in Oregon this year officially allowed armed campus police at the University of Oregon, which is just one example of many higher education institutions that recognize that their officers can better handle certain altercations when armed.

According to a Los Rios Community College District report campus police have been allowed to carry pepper spray and collapsible batons while on duty since 1994.

On Nov. 3, 2004, the LRCCD board of trustees voted 6-1 to approve armed campus police.

On Jan. 6, 2006 CRC campus officers first began to patrol with firearms, according to a previous report by The Connection.

The board was right to approve the measure in 2004. However, there were certain stipulations that were carried out before armed officers were allowed at CRC.

The sworn officers receive extra training and special evaluations before going on duty with a firearm.

Even though there are some instances of rogue officers who abuse their powers and go beyond the call of duty, armed campus officers are better equipped to handle certain situations.