More on arming campus security officers
I've been on the lookout for information about how campus security or police officers are armed since earlier this week when I wrote about the response from campus security directors to the Taser incident at the University of Cincinnati that led to the death of a student.
One thing I'm looking at are other intermediary force options being considered by law enforcement. I hope to speak with someone from Aegis Industries, which designed the Mark 63 Trident.
I also read this morning about York University in Toronto arming its campus security guards with batons and handcuffs. York University is not a small school. According to its website, it's home to 54,000 students. University of Cincinnati has roughly 41,000 students, according to its website.
So it's interesting to juxtapose universities that have sworn police officers carrying firearms, Tasers and pepper spray, with universities like York, whose campus security officers are only now receiving approval to carry batons. There are, of course, myriad variables that determine how campus security or police officers should be armed. The University of Cincinnati is in an urban environment. Judging by Google Maps, York University is, as well.
Obviously the two universities have different policies when it comes to security and intervention, and their relationships with local law enforcement. York has a "longstanding policy of non-intervention by security staff," but is now arming its security guards with batons and handcuffs to counter perceptions that the campus is unsafe, according to the newspaper article. University of Cincinnati has no such non-intervention policy.
During my research of my Taser-reaction story, I came across a 2008 report by the Department of Justice that looked at trends in campus security during the 2004-05 school year. In that report, I was surprised to discover that campus law enforcement agencies with non-sworn officers were more likely to authorize the carrying of Tasers than agencies with sworn police officers–24% to 20%. Since the DOJ only does that report once a decade, I couldn't find any more recent data on the carrying of Tasers by campus police.
These will be issues I'll be watching closely. Please chime in with your thoughts on arming campus security or police officers, or to point me to additional information I may have missed.
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