District Officials Address Concerns Surrounding Decision to Re-Arm Safety Officers

Late Input / Students spoke out against armed officers at a public safety town hall meeting Tuesday at The Spot. / liz Monroy / el Don

Late Input / Students spoke out against armed officers at a public safety town hall meeting Tuesday at The Spot. / Liz Monroy / el Don

District officials decide to re-arm safety officers during winter break

By Joanna Meza

Upset students confronted district and college officials in a public safety town hall meeting Tuesday, claiming a lack of student input and information in the district’s decision to re-arm safety officers.

District trustees unanimously approved the policy in early February, when college was out of session. The Associated Student Government invited district and college officials to address the concerns months later.

“The purpose of having this town hall actually was to have the students and the professors and every party that will be impacted by these decisions to receive the proper information from the decision makers,” ASG Legislative Commissioner Briana Brennan said.

Trustees Claudia Alvarez and John Hanna, along with SAC President Erlinda Martinez and two interim safety officials attempted to assure students that the decision wasn’t made lightly.

“We did a lot of research into the FBI and their recommendations and all the various professional bodies that are out there,” Interim District Safety Director Alistair Winter said.

The hour-long discussion did little to satisfy some of the students.

“I don’t think there was enough room for dialogue. It was more of them telling us what’s going on,” said Karimi Ndwiga, ASG cultural awareness coordinator.

Twice audience members asked if there was any campus event that led to the decision on arming officers.

“No,” Winter said.

Despite the disagreement of audience members, the trustees and safety officers tried to reassert that this was being done for the students’ safety on campus.

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“We are not police officers, we’re not becoming police officers,” Colver said. “Our roles that we play today will not change once we have firearms on our side.”

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