Sunday, February 8, 2009

Should UPD carry guns?

As the University continues to decide whether to arm our campus police, I thought it would be a good idea to open this discussion to everyone on the GW Blogspot community.

The Hatchet did a three part series on whether GW should arm our UPD, and the one I found the most interesting was the one about whether leaders in the community think it would be a good idea. To be honest, besides students, the people in the surrounding communities have the most to gain or lose from having our UPD being armed. If this initiative goes well, then they will get the added benefit of yet another security force in the area. If it goes poorly, then it will be incredibly dangerous to have all of these armed people in the area. The Hatchet wrote:
Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Asher Corson, Foggy Bottom's top elected official, said giving University Police Department officers guns is a "horrible idea."

"I don't want those individuals with guns, and I think they are the most unprofessional people at the University," said Corson, a 2006 GW alumnus. "I am not comfortable with them having guns."

He added, "A not-for-profit organization does not have the means, resources and accountability to be armed."

And I can't help but agree. The vast majority of UPD officers I encounter seem to be uncommitted, unprofessional, and not entirely the most trustworthy people. The thought of them having guns make me incredibly nervous. That's what the Metropolitan Police Department is for. They have the resources and time to devote to proper training and oversight so that their officers can carry guns. Ours? If the university only does this half-way, like it does usually with its new initiatives, then I even MORE doubt that it will end poorly.

And now I'd like the open up the debate here. What do you all think?


Andrew Perez said...

The Hatchet had a solid editorial in December about the prospects of arming UPD. The author hit on a very serious note: UPD's records are not open to the public. The idea of giving them guns, when we can't access their records, is ludicrous.

Neha said...

I'd be curious to know how many UPD officers have been in situations where they wished they had a gun.

Nick Fabiani said...

I didn't know about the editorial...though that makes me REALLY nervous. And I'm sure there are too many situations where they wished they had guns. Yet another issue...