Two district trustees justified their decision to arm campus safety officers, saying it was grounded on sound research, in an opinion published in the Orange County Register earlier this month.
In February, the Board of Trustees unanimously, and some would say unilaterally, voted to arm campus safety officers, citing the recent wave of mass shootings at schools as a leading factor in their decision.
Contrary to the claims Trustees Phillip Yarbrough and Claudia Alvarez made in their opinion piece, Santa Ana College students were a small part of the decision.
The students’ concerns were indeed heard — at a town hall that occurred months after the vote took place.
Despite the protests and obvious risks of interacting with armed personnel, the trustees’ decision was a step towards improving safety on campus. With the number of recent school shootings, students no longer feel safe with just active shooter drills.
Armed guards are necessary. When we rely on the Santa Ana Police Department, response times are between five and 10 minutes due to the urban setting surrounding the campus.
In the case of the Umpqua Community College shooter, it was local police who had to respond to the attack and despite arriving on the scene quickly, the shooter killed nine people before he could be stopped.