Security at some community colleges armed


In the wake of recent events across the country, many colleges are equipping their police departments with new firepower to better respond to active shooter situations.
The vast majority of public colleges employ armed officers.
Other schools hire private security guards who patrol the campus either unarmed or armed only with pepper spray.
“You have to be prepared,” said Robert Di Piero, Acting Director of Police Services and Public Safety Programs at Delta College. “We jumped on tasers right away. We had rifles in our cars maybe even before the Stockton Police Department did.”
Community colleges in Illinois and Michigan have decided to arm their security guards Similar talks to arm security guards in Massachusetts and Connecticut are ongoing. Rhode Island’s law forbidding armed guards at community colleges and four-year institutions – the only law of its kind in the nation- was overturned recently, opening the door for schools in that state to arm guards.
California’s Education Code gives every community college the authority to establish a police department, but doesn’t require that department to be armed.
Of the 69 community colleges in California with sworn officers only two have forces that don’t carry firearms.
Officers at City College of San Francisco and Pasadena City College are armed with batons and pepper spray only.
After the school shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon last October, CCSF has been toying with the idea of giving guards firearms.
What kind of firearms they may utilize remains undetermined.
The current trend is to arm school security with automatic rifles.
According to Di Piero, San Joaquin Delta Community College District Police was one of the first college police departments in the state to add rifles with high capacity magazines to its arsenal.
“Most college departments are armed, but we were ahead of the game,” said Di Piero.
The department already had shotguns, but when it came to preparing for possible active shooter situations the need for another tool was recognized.
“You don’t use a hammer for everything,” said Di Piero. “You use a screwdriver when you need to. Well, a shotgun sprays everywhere, and it doesn’t really work well in an active shooter scenario.”
Delta College student Mikko Fredeen says he’s glad that SJDCCDP arms their officers. “They do a lot. You want them to be ready when they’re patrolling the campus and walking people to their cars after dark.”
Di Piero doesn’t understand why a school would choose to not have armed security on campus, but he acknowledges that budgetary restrictions and political pressure often play roles.
This has not been the case at Delta.
“The school has always been very supportive of us,” said Di Piero. “As supportive as if a professor needed a new computer.”