Blog Post 3: College Campus Police Armament

Regardless of whether it is efficient or beneficial for military weapons to be reallocated to college campuses, the lack of statistical data and regulation of campus armament is evident.

According to an investigative report by the Associated Press, “schools aren’t required to report weapon use to federal authorities.” It has been ten years since the Bureau of Justice Statistics last surveyed college campus law enforcement agencies, in 2004- 2005, and since then more than 700 campuses surveyed say the percentage of officers armed rose from 68 to 75 percent.  These reports were conducted before the spike in college campus armament after the Virginia Tech shootings of 2007, thus it could be proposed that the percentage of armed officers would exponentially continue to increase.  According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics senior statistician, Brian Reaves, currently, the Federal authorities do not track the frequency with which weapons are used and “there is no Department of Justice requirement for reporting the use of weapons by police” although “the individual agencies would likely have records of this”.  Even so, the Department of Justice makes no attempt to acquire this information or compile it systematically as part of a data collection.  (college.usatoday.com).

Furthermore, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said that once the weapons are given to the local departments, such as college campus police units, it’s “up to local law enforcement to determine how and when and were and under what circumstances they use excess military equipment” (The Daily Targum).  This could be concerning considering a possibility for lack of training or guidance in weaponry and misuse. Little is known about the training college campus police officers. Logically, college campuses with larger student populations or in environments considered having a higher risk of violence should be able to acquire and maintain higher levels weapons.  However it seems that almost any college can apply for any degree of weaponry regardless of their need. Barack Obama motioned for a review of policy regarding the issue stating, “there is a big difference between our military and our local law enforcement, and we don’t want those lines blurred” for “that would be contrary to our traditions” (The Daily Targum).

Next I will attempt to make conclusions about how the possession of these weapons affect the campuses and what they say about the society in which we live.