The Public Safety Task Force will bring a recommendation to the next Board of Governors meeting asking that the Public
Safety officers should be armed.
Missouri Western is the only public university in the state that employs commissioned officers that do not carry guns.
Beth Wheeler, Director of External Relations, spearheaded the task force that collected the information from outside
entities such as the Loan Executive Management Assistance Program (LEMAP) of the International Association of College
Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA), who visited campus and made recommendations to improve the safety of campus.
â€œIt started because Public Safety wanted to provide a safer atmosphere on campus,â€ Wheeler said.
In the fall of 2005 the Department of Public Safety submitted a grant requesting funding to get an external review of their
policies, procedures and tactics with the purpose to make the campus safer. After the grant was approved, the Public Safety Task
force was constructed, consisting of Wheeler; and students such as SGA President Natalie Bailey; SGA VP Luke Herrington; NAACP President Jasmine Pasley; with faculty members Kip Wilson, Criminal Justice; Michael Speros, Director of Residential Life; and Trevor Brown, Public Safety officer.
Along with the recommendation that Public Safety carry weapons, the people from LEMAP also suggested that officers receive additional training in cross-cultural communications, beyond the minimum required to become a commissioned
police officer. The additional training is aimed to mend the apparent rift between the DPS and minorities
â€œA lot of the issues that the minority community and DPS are having are usually more communication problems. Sometimes
itâ€™s an issue of stereo typing and the stigma that is carried with being a minority on this campus,â€ Jasmine Pasley, president
of Missouri Westernâ€™s NAACP chapter, said. â€œItâ€™s still a hot topic, but I think that theyâ€™re having a better understanding,
and maybe something can be rectified with communication.â€
Not only will arming the public safety provide them with tools needed to respond to a threat, it will cut back on DPSâ€™s reliance
onthe St. Joseph Police Department during critical situations.
Â â€œI hope it means we can stand alone and be a community without having to call in our neighbors all the time to come in and assist us,â€ Wheeler said.
Wheeler went on to explain that students are not the threat. The threat comes from people outside of campus that see the community as easy prey.
â€œMany of the encounters with weapons and (fighting) is not with western students, itâ€™s with others that come on to campus who think itâ€™s a nice place to cruise, or to offer you items for sale,â€ Wheeler said.
The Public Safety Task Force will be holding open meetings throughout the week for students and faculty to learn more about their findings and voice an opinion. The meetings are as follows:
â€¢Â Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 9:30 a.m. â€“Open Staff/ Administrations Forum Spratt 110
â€¢Â Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 3 p.m. â€“Open Faculty Forum Spratt 110
â€¢Â Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. â€“Open Student/Residence Council Forum in Commons
â€¢Â Wednesday, Oct. 3 at 3 p.m. â€“Open Staff/Administrator Forum in Spratt 110
â€¢Â Thursday, Oct. 4 at noon â€“Open Student Forum in Eder 208
â€¢Â Thursday, Oct. 4 at 4 p.m. â€“Open Faculty/Faculty Senate Forum in Blum 220
â€¢Â Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 1:30 p.m. â€“Staff Association Meeting in Spratt 208