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Public Safety officers now armed

Students recieve news of change to Public Safety

By Ashleigh Kaufman | 09/22/14 | Updated 09/22/14 | Posted in News, Campus News

University of Hartford Public Safety
University of Hartford Public Safety

Since the Columbine shooting of 1999, there have been multiple shootings on school campuses all over the nation, prompting the university to add armed officers to the Department of Public Safety. Providing guns for officers allows for a quicker response time to emergency situations without waiting for an outside police force.

According to Director of Public Safety John Schmaltz, "It came down to what does the community expect from our public safety department if there was a report and again lets not jump to the active shooter. If there's a person, or an individual walking across campus with a blue shirt tan pants and a backpack, he's got a hand gun inside of it so you obviously gather the information and realistically do you expect an unarmed public safety officer to confront somebody who is reported to be armed?"

The news was broken to the student body last semester by an email from the Vice President of Finance and Administration, Arosha Jayawickrema.

Jayawickrema ensured students that there will be regularly scheduled, continuing training for all armed officers. All officers also went through psychological testing and background checks before being trained to handle a firearm.

Students have differing opinions on providing guns to the officers. Michael Lucas, a sophomore, stated, "First off these are college cops, they aren't actual law, I mean they are sort of law enforcement but they're not like, they're only for the campus so why should they have guns?"

Freshman Robert Earhart understands the University's reason for implementing the changes and stated, "Well, the easiest way to take down a man with a gun is to use a gun to take him down, so having the Public Safety officers who are right here on campus with guns who be able to take down the shooter that much fast than the local police."

The Department of Public Safety will be offering online classes this fall on how to prepare and respond to violence and active shooters on campus. Director Schmaltz encourages students with concerns of having armed officers to visit his office directly.

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