Should MWSU arm Public Safety Officers?

Crime Institutional News Politics

Pro or Con: ….

Pro: 

It’s time to conquer fear and face reality, arm the officers
Charlene Divino

The argument against arming campus security can only be attributed to fear. There is no rational or factual argument against it.
 
I don’t believe in buying into media fed mass hysteria. An environment of fear isn’t beneficial to anybody. Unfortunately, the world is unpredictable and you can’t anticipate where danger is lurking. The only solution is the happy medium, a realistic perception of the world around you.
 
It’s naive to assume nothing could ever occur on Missouri Western campus. It’s this kind of false sense of security that leaves us most vulnerable. People don’t think to themselves their campus is next. It isn’t the nature of tragedy.

In arming our security, we must face an uncomfortable truth. We are not invincible, and our lives are not exempt from the possibility of danger.. If I found myself threatened by a person with a weapon, it would be a joke to send security to save me with pepper spray.

I’d also like to clarify a popular misconception; Missouri Western doesn’t have “rent-a-cops” or mall level security.

The Western department of public safety is a recognized law enforcement agency that employs police officers commissioned through the Missouri department of public safety. These are certified police officers that can legally carry guns every moment of the day, except while at work defending students.

Of all the Missouri universities with commissioned police officers, we are the only school that chooses not to arm our most immediate asset. The result has been 204 calls from Missouri Western DPS to Saint Joseph Police Department for back up in situations they are trained to handle.  We have police officers on campus, but all we allow them to do is give tickets.

Maybe the reputation security has earned for overreacting is a product of their vulnerability.

With the responsibility to assess a situation and determine the possibility of violence upon arriving, their hand is forced. They must err on the side of caution, and call for backup rather then risk a situation escalating beyond their control.

As officers with the right and ability to bear arms, we are denying them the necessary tools to perform their jobs.

As the students, we should put the full force of our support in arming our campus. This is for our own benefit. We aren’t contemplating arming student interns to use other students for target practice. We are safeguarding our campus by taking necessary measures.

It’s easy for us as students to declare that guns are an unnecessary presence. But we are not responsible for the safety of the student body, or required to be in the line of fire while protecting them. Like it or not, as a college MWSU is obligated to take every precaution in defending us. As students’ would we really accept anything less?

Con: 

Guns on campus while thought provoking, unnecessary
Addison Ford

I think that Missouri Western is a safe campus, and I don’t think many people would disagree with that. 

This is thanks in part to Western’s effective Department of Public Safety, and our officers are good at what they do.

However, with the Virginia Tech tragedy during spring semester, some crazy stuff is going down at Public Safety, they now need to be armed. As in, all commissioned Public Safety officers wish to carry guns.

And the scary thing is, it just might happen.

In March of 2006, Western hired a team from LEMAP (Loaned Executive Management Assistance Program) to try and improve Western public safety and their effectiveness at handling incidents that occur on campus. Some will argue that since the formation of this committee predated the Virginia Tech shooting by more than a year that this would have happened anyway. But now, those for guns on campus have much more fear to play off of to convince people who may have been against it before April of this year.

Of the many recommendations that both the LEMAP team and Western’s own Task Force have made, this is by far the craziest, and most unnecessary, of them all.

At Destination Western Freshman Orientation sessions this summer, where I served as an Orientation Leader, public safety even went so far as to add that officers at Western “Aren’t armed. Yet.” during their presentations.

Excuse me? If I had been a freshman at one of those sessions, I would have been horrified. Actually, as a sophomore, I was horrified. Call me an insane liberal, but I don’t think that just because our public safety officers are “real” police officers, they automatically get access to a bright and shiny .45.

 I just hope that I’m not the only student that feels this way. Western officers have NEVER been armed. And you know what? None of them have ever been shot, either. Also, we’ve never had any assault-rifle toting madman go around and blow people away, either. I’m not saying that the possibility isn’t there, but we’ve got plenty of gun-toting St. Joseph PD to take care of that.

To me, higher education is a peaceful atmosphere that is really its own community. If that is true, Western is a safe one, and I think that bad things could happen if Public Safety had guns.

This week, there are open forums for students to voice their opinions about this thought-provoking issue. No matter which way you feel, you should attend one of the forums and let your voice be heard. Even if you believe they should be loaded up with ammunition, go and discuss it with others that feel the same way. This is a topic that affects students directly, so students should affect this decision directly, and it is admirable that student’s opinions were even considered by holding these forums. 

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