Debate: Should College Campus Police Officers Be Armed? - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Debate: Should College Campus Police Officers Be Armed?

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It's a debate that's taking place across the nation. Should campus police officers be armed?

With incidents of mass shootings and active shooters more prevalent, it's something more and more schools are considering.

Just within the past week and a half, there have been several reports of gunmen on campuses from Indiana to Virginia.
Giving advocates more fire that campus police should be armed.

In the past week, police in North Carolina, Indiana, Virginia and Connecticut have all responded to a gunman, terrorizing their campuses.
In some cases it turned out to be an erroneous report. But in Virginia, a 22-year old student was gunned down and killed in his on-campus apartment.

Here in Erie just 2 months ago, a man opened fire on the campus of Mercyhurst University, killing himself.
While Mercyhurst has a police department, their officers are not armed.
In fact, Mercyhurst is the only college or university in Erie county that does not allow their officers to carry weapons.
Officers at Gannon University, Edinboro University and Penn State Behrend all do.

And a majority of all the officers are sworn police officers, Act 120 certified to carry a weapon.
Allegheny College in Meadville also does not permit their officers to carry, and for many we spoke with, this is all a concern.

"If your officers are sworn and have police powers, they should have the tools to do the job," said Jeffrey Schneider, Director of Safety & Security at Allegheny College.

The Director of Campus Police & Safety at Gannon University, Ted Marine agrees, "They're law enforcement officers, they're police officers and weapons are part of the tools of the trade." 

"No one wants to kill anybody, but if it's necessary to keep everyone safe then that's an officers' duty," said police expert, Catherine Smit-Torrez. "To take them of a weapon, they (colleges) don't even have to have someone on the campus if they're going to take their weapon. Because 90% of the time, in a shooting situation, that's the only way you can defend the other people," Smit-Torrez added.

Smit-Torrez is a former police chief in Dallas Texas, who's been in law enforcement for 20 years. She's currently a private investigators and also a public speaker on police issues across the country. For more information, visit her web site at stilettospyinvestigations.com 

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