UNLV proposes arming faculty, staff to increase campus security

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UNLV proposes arming faculty, staff to increase campus security

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By: Teresa Pham
Posted: 5/14/07
In the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings, some universities are looking into tightening security measures on campus. In Nevada, one man is proposing a reserve police officer program that would allow employees at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to carry guns.

Regent Stavros Anthony, also a Las Vegas police captain, said the program would allow normal employees at the university, such as faculty members, to be trained as reserve police officers.

"The way it works is that an employee would apply with the police department to become a reserve police officer," he said. "They would have to go through the same selection process as their police officers."

That selection process, he added, is very thorough and covers all the basic training that regular police officers go through.

"They'd take a written test, a psychological exam, a polygraph and a background check," he said. "Then they would go through the same police academy that the police officers go through, which is about four or five months. Then, once they graduate, they're considered city reserve police officers and have to go through the renewal training just like police officers for as long as they want to keep their certification. It's a pretty stringent program."

However, there are some groups that oppose letting schools control firearm possession rules on campus. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence released a press release May 3 regarding the risk of guns on college campuses.

Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Center, stated in the press release that guns should be either carefully monitored or banned on campus.

"Our schools should be sanctuaries, not armed camps," Helmke said. "Institutions of higher education already have chosen policies either banning or tightly controlling guns on campus. That is as it should be."

Other schools have chosen to reevaluate security measures after Virginia Tech, but have not taken the same measures that UNLV is proposing.

Paul Browning, California State University spokesperson, said the CSU schools have security measures in place in order to respond in the event of a situation such as the Virginia Tech tragedy.

"CSU is granted authority to maintain police officers on all 23 campuses, and they receive full police-academy training," he said. "Everyone has looked at their procedures. They have developed really extensive plans in order to handle all kinds of situations."

However, he said CSU schools probably wouldn't be implementing a program to adopt regular university employees as reserve police officers.

"Well, I can't really see a CSU adopting a plan where regular employees would act as undercover officers in any way," he said. "Each campus has a really high-quality, well-trained police force. We believe that they are very capable of handling any type of situation that comes up."

At UC Davis, Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef said in an Apr. 23 statement that the campus is revitalizing its emergency-response network and investigating the possibility of improving cell phone reception in the event of an emergency.

After several calls, no one from the UC Davis Police Department was available by press time to comment on adopting a police-faculty program.

Anthony said his program, which he proposed at UNLV, is a fairly new program and will come before the University of California Board of Regents for consideration soon.

"My idea is pretty new as far as allowing employees to become police officers, but the reserve officer program has been successful all over the country," he said. "I'm presenting it to the board of regents in June for complete discussion. The board will vote, and if the majority wants this, then the police department will put the process together."

Despite critics who question whether Anthony's program is necessary, he said his program is important because of the rise in shooter violence.

"We're seeing an increase in shooter situations," he said. "They've occurred at shopping malls and obviously with the Virginia Tech tragedy, and we're starting to see more of these active shooter situations. They're not going to go away. They're going to continue, and we're going to have more in the future. We have to be in a position to defend ourselves, which we're having a hard time doing today."

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Original Source:<a href=http://media.www.californiaaggie.com/media/storage/paper981/news/2007/05/14/CityNews/Unlv-Proposes.Arming.Faculty.Staff.To.Increase.Campus.Security-2903038.shtml>The California Aggie - May 14, 2007</a>

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Teresa Pham

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The California Aggie

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2007-08-23

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Sara Hood

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Eddie Lee <editor@californiaaggie.com>

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eng

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Teresa Pham, "UNLV proposes arming faculty, staff to increase campus security," in The April 16 Archive, Item #1198, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/1198 (accessed October 24, 2014).