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Phoenix-Area College District Arms Campus Officers

January 03, 2008  | 

Officers at Arizona's Mesa Community College are now armed on duty.

The seven sworn officers on the force received firearms training this summer. The officers will carry .45-caliber Glocks issued by the Maricopa County Community College District.

Steve Corich, director of campus security, said the training and duty weapons will allow the officers to respond immediately to a major incident without having to wait for the Mesa police.

"In one of those unforeseen active-shooter situations where seconds count, the police are minutes away," Corich told the Arizona Republic. "We have to handle as we can until the police arrive."

A new Arizona law requires all sworn officers to be armed on duty. This meant that the Maricopa County Community College District was required by law to arm its officers. As recently as 2002, the district's governing board voted against allowing officers to carry on duty.

Mesa Community College is also adding better locks to its classroom doors. The door can be locked from inside and adjunct professors are now locking their classrooms at night.

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Comments (1)

Displaying 1 - 1 of 1

Collegecop_wa @ 1/4/2008 7:56 AM

Bravo Maricopa County for stepping up to the plate and giving your community college officers the tools they need to do the job properly. Hopefully this is the start of a nationwide trend towards recognizing the officers who work in higher education as deserving of the support the “real” police officers get. For far too long college and university public safety officers have been given the short end of the stick because of the misguided notion that “nothing bad can happen here” and that line of reasoning has caused a serious lack of critical incident preparedness in the higher education arena.

Perhaps this will cause other states to take a more serious approach to recognizing the public safety needs at the community college level instead of just focusing on the four year universities. For example, Washington state still has not seen fit to give serious support and consideration to the officers working at the 34 community and technical colleges throughout the state despite a concerned effort to garner support from the state legislature and the union representing the officers and other employees. Yet they lavish attention and resources on the four year public universities, and in fact just announced a multi-million dollar “emergency preparedness” supplemental budget that is specifically for use at the higher education facilities. But very little if any of the money is earmarked for the community/technical colleges and is instead focused on the four year schools as usual.

I can’t help but wonder if our own bill granting equal status to the public safety staff at the community/technical college level will be signed in the blood of students and faculty who had to die in order to convince our administrators and law makers how seriously we need their support.

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