Gunning for an Armed Campus
by Miguel M. Morales
As Johnson County Community College moves towards arming its security officers, it's also considering a more drastic option.
A message posted Dec. 18 on the college's electronic mail server, Infolist, reveals that beginning in January, the college will house an Overland Park police officer while trustees consider establishing an armed campus police force.
OVERLAND PARK POLICE OFFICER ON CAMPUS BEGINNING IN JANUARY
Beginning in January 2008 there will be an Overland Park police officer working on campus for a portion of the school day. The officer will be working with JCCC Public Safety and will assume some of the duties the Public Safety officers have been performing up to this point. This interim step, in the evaluation of whether or not our Public Safety department should become a police department, will last for three to six months. If there are any questions please don’t hesitate to contact Gus Ramirez, Public Safety Director.
Further cementing the idea of an armed force on campus, the college has also scheduled an "active shooter" training this week.
PUBLIC SAFETY TRAINING EXERCISE
The Overland Park Police Department will conduct an “active shooter” training exercise for JCCC Public Safety officers and dispatchers in the Carlsen Center on Dec. 19. There will be 2-3 hours of classroom training and then an exercise scenario for JCCC Public Safety officers to observe. The purpose of the exercise and training is to familiarize OP PD with Public Safety operations and the JCCC facilities and to make Public Safety aware of OP PD response procedures. This training and exercise will prepare both groups for a timely and organized response in case of a campus emergency.
Students at the college have mixed feelings about the proposed changes. A current student and former Marine testified before the college's Board of Trustees asking them not to arm officers.
Watch his testimony here.
Read about him and the issue in the campus paper, The Campus Ledger, here.