UPDATE: Augustana Moves Forward With Plan To Arming Public Safet - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

UPDATE: Augustana Moves Forward With Plan To Arm Public Safety Officers

Updated:
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UPDATE

The Augustana Board voted to move forward with a plan that would form a professional police department with sworn, armed officers on campus.

"The Board of Trustees voted in favor of establishing a campus police department. The administration's proposal, which garnered a positive vote from the trustees, continues Augustana College's practice of implementing best practices in regard to safety," said Steven Bahls, President of Augustana, in a release. "This decision will result in a number of benefits, including access to state and national databases which will provide real-time information about security concerns, inclusion in professional training opportunities, streamlined communication with emergency responders throughout the state, and three armed officers. This vote demonstrates Augustana's commitment to create as safe an environment as possible for its students, faculty and staff."

Original

"The number one reason we are looking at this is to keep our campus --students, faculty and staff safe," said Augustana College Dean of Student Life Evelyn Campbell.  

Dean Evelyn Campbell of Augustana College says times have changed, and they're looking for ways to change with them.  That's why she says the campus wants to prepare for the worst.

"I think that's unlikely but again in an all hazards approach you just want to look at any kind of potential emergency and have a response available on campus."

Right now, the university has ten unarmed public safety officers.  The plan could require three of those officers to carry a handgun.

"The difference would be that the response time would be with someone who has a gun that can provide a different kind of response than someone who doesn't," said Campbell.  "We would take three of those officers who have completed the equivalent of police academy training and also carried a weapon in previous job"

The cost would range anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000 on the universities tab.

"That would include salary changes for the officers, some additional equipment, and training," said Campbell.

Students have mixed feelings on armed police forces walking their campus.

"The cops may never use these guns. I think having just them on the case very immediate would be helpful and safer for students," said Sophomore Brendan McBride.  

"I actually don't think its necessary. I tend to be anti-gun in general. When it comes to campus, campus is already very safe," said Senior Jalayna Walton.

But, one question remains. Is it necessary? Dean Campbell says it's better to be safe than sorry.

"In the minds of people is the possibility that some kind of situation like a Virginia Tech could happen. We feel like we have to have a response," said Campbell.

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