After writing earlier today about discrepancies in how campus security officers are armed at two, similarly-sized urban universities (York University in Toronto and the University of Cincinnati in Ohio), I reached out to Chris Blake, associate director of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, to ask his opinion. One major component that contributes to the discrepancy, he writes to me in an email, are different gun laws in this country and in Canada. "This could serve to diminish the need for officers on a campus to carry firearms," Blake writes. "I don’t know this for a fact, but it would seem to make sense."
Different gun laws are a piece of the equation I hadn't considered. Let's dig deeper. "I cannot specifically comment on gun laws in our respective countries (I am not a specialist) however I can mention and advise that no college or university have campus security/police armed with firearms in Canada," writes Pierre Barbarie, associate director of university safety and head of security services at McGill University in Montreal. Barbarie is also the Canadian Region Director on IACLEA's board.
It's a matter of "our different cultures ... and how we feel we should deal with criminal activity and protecting our respective campuses," Barbarie writes. But even within Canada, like in the United States, there's no uniform approach to campus security. "Some of us have sworn officers, some non-sworn and some have a hybrid approach, some have internal personnel while others contract private security personnel," Barbarie writes.
Thanks to Chris and Pierre for offering this very interesting insight into campus security approaches from both sides of the border.
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