The perpetual debate about arming the campus police has once again been revived thanks to a new draft policy that was recently circulated.The 19-page report, ambiguously titled, “Should Campus Police be Armed?” provides four possibilities: maintaining the status quo for no guns on campus, arming just the night shift officers, arming the entire force of trained campus police (excluding cadets), or hiring an outside agency (such as the Pasadena Police Department) to patrol the campus instead.

While the report outlines these various options, it seems to be leaning more towards arming the PCC Police Department, as evidenced by the examples of recent campus crime listed towards the beginning of the document.

However, the case can be made that what might have aided in these itemized incidents were not guns, but a quicker response time by the officers on duty.

In a question and answer session with the newspaper journalism class, PCCPD Chief Peter Michael, in defense of campus police being equipped with guns, cited a situation that occurred last year in which he claims guns may have helped.

The incident, reported by this paper, involved a student assaulting another student over a parking space. The entire episode, which began and ended within just minutes, concluded with the attacker driving off in his car before any authorities reached the scene.

When a question arose about response time regarding this situation in particular and others listed in the report in general, Chief Michael never gave a direct answer, instead outlining extreme cases such as the Virginia Tech rampage as well as supposed terrorist plans to target American schools.

At the bottom of the second page of the report, however, the issue of response time is brought up to support the PCCPD’s side of the argument.

“Having PCCPD armed will not prevent a terrorist or major criminal attack-the debate is whether the extra minutes it would take for PPD to arrive would make a significant difference.”

This is a valid point on a higher security level, but what are the chances that, God forbid, something absolutely horrific happens on this campus? In reality, they are very slim.

What should be the main focus here is not the wide-scale attacks, but the smaller crimes that are more likely to occur on a community college campus.

The PCCPD has every right to ask for guns; it is, after all, a common tool in their trade. But before they can be trusted with deadly weapons, they must first prove that they can respond to situations, however minor, swiftly and adequately. Otherwise, if campus police arrive too late and the crime has already been committed, then whether they are armed or not becomes irrelevant.

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