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Thread: UI police gun issue comes to fore again

  1. #1

    Default UI police gun issue comes to fore again

    I debated where to put this article. Then I decided anytime guns are mentioned it could end up as a political argument.

    Anyway I found it interesting that Iowa, Iowa State and UNI are the only schools in their respective conferences that don't have armed campus police. What do you guys/gals think? Should campus police have guns?



    UI police gun issue comes to fore again
    Brian Stewart - The Daily Iowan
    Issue date: 7/25/07 Section: Metro
    PrintEmail DoubleClick Any Word Page 1 of 2 next > As national law-enforcement officials wrap up a four-day audit of the UI police today, the university remains the only school in the Big Ten with campus officers who do not carry firearms.

    But the UI is not alone in Iowa. Big 12 member Iowa State University is the only institution in its league that does not arm its patrol members with guns, and the University of Northern Iowa is the lone school in the Missouri Valley whose officers do not carry such weapons.

    At the request of Gov. Chet Culver and the state Board of Regents, the three public universities submitted reports this summer on campus-security procedures.

    Charles Green, the assistant vice president for the UI police, feels the department's officers should be equipped with firearms while on duty. He said that currently, the university's officers have access to weapons - but only if they return to headquarters to retrieve them, with permission, when faced with a serious situation.

    "My personal opinion [is that] they should be armed," Green said. "Our officers are already qualified with weapons - we meet the same qualifications as any law-enforcement officer in the state."

    John Carpenter, one of three members of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Officers, which is auditing UI police this week, said arming campus officers is not always the correct option.

    "I don't recommend small schools have police officers," he said, noting that some institutions can adequately protect their campuses with security guards. "But [at the UI] we have police officers, they're trained as police officers, and we expect them to perform as police officers - to not arm them seems foolish to me."

    Lisa Sprague, the associate director of the Florida State University police - who also arrived Sunday to begin auditing the UI police - said the force performs all the tasks officers at other agencies must perform.

    "None of these things can safely be responded to without an armed officer," she said. "[Not having armed police] fails the officer and it fails the community."


    < prev Page 2 of 2 Regent Robert Downer said he's leaning toward arming police at this "very preliminary time." He noted that a number of other institutions provide campus officers with firearms.

    "I have not, at this point, seen any demonstrable reason as to why we're different," he said. "I would want to be sure the weapons used are only necessary to cope with instances on campus."

    Regent Bonnie Campbell said she wants to keep an open mind when discussing the issue at upcoming meetings; the nine-member board is responsible for the final decision.

    "Personally, I don't want people to think that arming campus security is the total solution to safety," she said, noting campus security guards at Virginia Tech were armed during the fatal shootings there April 16. "There's a lot more to making a campus safe than arming security."

    Both Sprague and Carpenter - together boasting more than 60 years of campus-safety experience - feel the decision to arm the UI's officers must come soon. The audit, though not instigated by the weapon issue, examines all areas of campus security in a "peer review" format, Sprague said.

    The duo felt the UI's department was one of the best they've seen.

    "[The issue of arming campus police] boils down to what role you want them to play," Sprague said. "The time to decide is now."

  2. #2
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    Default Re: UI police gun issue comes to fore again

    I think it's okay for campus police to carry guns as long as they don't pray before they use them.

    But seriously, folks . . .

    It depends on the specific nature of the job. Have there been situations where campus police or students' safety has been in jeopardy because the police didn't have firearms? Do they deal mostly with unruly students, or do they often have to protect students from dangerous threats from off campus? They certainly should have access to guns when the need arises, but carrying them as part of their daily armamentarium may pose a greater risk than not having them. The security officers must be well trained technically and procedurally. Maybe tasers would be a better alternative to potentialy deadly force. The answer must be tailored to each campus's specific needs.
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