Beyond Observe and Report, Additional Law Enforcement Gives Mixed Emotions
If you walk around the Valhalla campus you may be surprised to see a county police car parked in places such as the parking lots or other high activity areas. The question of school safety is on the minds of students far more frequently these days, so the presence of police on campus is not an unexpected one. Steps do need to be taken to protect schools and one step that WCC has taken is to hire police to patrol the campus.
Scott Sullivan, director of campus security, said that the police are hired to come at certain times, specifically “high peak times.” He says that, though WCC has an active security force, in times of crisis, security is limited in what they can do to protect the student body. The role of the campus security is that of “an observe and report role, for the most part.”
Security officers help teachers get into buildings, check infrastructure, and identify problems wherever they may exist.
“They’re like the eyes and ears of the campus,” said Sullivan. “They don’t have any police or police officer authority.”
In fact, they’re not even armed. The only person who’s authorized to have a gun on campus are the police officer, according to Sullivan.
Because of that, the police are necessary to have on campus, “as a matter of deterrence.” In the event of an emergency, it’s better to have someone already present on the scene then to wait for help from somewhere else. With shootings becoming rather prevalent on the news, schools have taken steps to combat them and Sullivan says, in the event of an active shooter situation, “that response time is critical.”
Many students are aware of the police, and overall, they seem to acknowledge the necessity and many take comfort in their presence.
“I definitely think it’s good to have enforcement. I do like to know they’re here if we need them,” said WCC student Jessica Moreira.
Student Alic Pizzimenti, also said that it’s a good idea, based upon the reality of all the high school shootings going on, it’s definitely something that is on Pizzimenti’s mind.
Some students, such as Martil Umanzor, even said “we need more” or that the police need to be here more often. Despite this acknowledgment though, a common reaction was still one of uncertainty.
“It makes me feel like am I doing something wrong,” said student Rawaan Alomary.
Monica Aguirre, a WCC student, said that though she agrees it’s important to have police on campus for safety. “There’s definitely this aspect of me that if I see a cop, I have a little heart attack.”
According to CNN, as of March 24, there have been 17 school shootings in 2018, for an average of about one shooting a week. In March alone, there were six school shootings nationwide.
With students across the country dying in schools every week, it’s clear that something must be done and having someone who is trained to respond to situations such as those, and armed with the necessary tools to do so, is a necessary step that must be taken. This is something many students agree on. So, while it means some students will have to have those little heart attacks, this is what has to be done to ensure the safety of everyone on campus.