SBCC campus security requests Tasers in effort to ensure safety

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Antony Marchiando

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SAMMY KEYES-LEVINE, Channels Staff

The campus security has requested Tasers for security officers to better protect themselves from potential danger on campus.

They plan on buying at least seven at a cost of about $1100 each. Only the permanent security officers would carry them after receiving the mandatory training.

A recommended instructor from the company, Taser International, would direct the training. They plan to train security to not only use the Tasers, but also on when to use them and liability that goes along with it.

“We believe that we need something that provides better protection for not only the officer responding, but also the possible victims,” said Erik Fricke, head of campus security. “While pepper spray can be very effective, it is not always effective, and in the wrong situation it can be a very poor defense tool.”

The crime rates at City College are low compared to other colleges, but the Tasers would be a preemptive measure.

“I think we’ve been very fortunate not to have had any real serious or violent incidents on our campus where we would have needed a Taser,” Fricke said. “But at the same time we don’t want to wait till such an incident happens, and to not be prepared.”

Fricke understands that there are concerns about the dangers of having weapons like these on campus, and is working to have law enforcement and medical professionals create a presentation regarding the use of them.

“There’s a fine line between campus safety, and using unnecessary and aggressive force,” said Student Advocate Maggie Cabrera. “If you are just dealing with students, then why do you need Tasers?”

The security would like to get them as soon as possible, but it still has to be approved by the school.

“It would be good for them to be able to defend themselves,” Student Senate President Isaac Eaves said. “I know our security guards on-campus are good security guards, with integrity.”

He went on about his concern for the possibility of abuse by security as well.

“There’s always the potential for abuse, but that’s on a specific basis or with a specific security guard,” Eaves said. “They’re here to protect the students, and I trust our security guards.”

Fricke does not foresee the necessity of using Tasers in many situations, and emphasizes that they are for defensive purposes.

“If we are faced with someone who is extremely dangerous and a threat to us, and there is no other way for us to deal with it then to use a Taser,” Fricke said. “We would not be using the Tasers for compliance, and that’s important. They are purely for protection.”

They would not be used to remove someone from campus, nor would it be used in a more serious incident such as someone holding a gun. In these cases the Santa Barbara Police Department would be called to handle it.

“I understand the need for safety on campus, but as I said there’s a fine line with how this will impact the culture on campus, and the surrounding environment.” Cabrera said. “It’s not just City College students in this area that are affected, it’s also residents.”