Police Presence is Up

By Cody Spradlin

Police presence increased on College of Southern Nevada campuses due to new policing initiatives.

Associate Vice President and Director of University Police Services Southern Command Adam Garcia confirms, “We have increased the amount of time officers engage with our campuses and the level of interaction our officers have with our campuses. You are more likely to see officers in buildings and on foot.”

Garcia was appointed to his recent post in February to oversee the consolidation of the police departments at CSN and University of Nevada, Las Vegas. “The increase in engagement is a department-wide community oriented policing process for all CSN campuses … as a change in policing initiatives, not as a result of any particular crime trend or threat.”

Research from the National Center for Education Statistics in a report titled “Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2018” shows that from 2001 to 2017, the percentage of students who reported observing the presence of armed guards or police officers increased from 64 to 71%. The number of students who reported one or more CCTV cameras being used to monitor the school increased from 39 to 84% as did the percentages of students who reported observing the use of locked entrance or exit doors during the day from 49 to 79%.

Thankfully, the increased security on CSN campuses is part of the ongoing efforts to keep students and faculty safe.

According to the Jeanne Cleary Annual Security Report for 2019, in 2018 there were very few crimes reported on CSN campuses. There were three weapons law violation arrests in addition to minor offenses: motor vehicle theft, drug and liquor law violations.

Charleston campus had a weapons law violation early in the new semester when a student brought a gun and 2,000 rounds of ammunition on campus in his car, which was a serious issue, but was resolved with no violence. Even with this situation, the number of reported crimes this year is similar to previous years though the number of police on campus has increased.

Many students and professors feel the increased security presence is a good thing and the best way to keep everyone safe but some disagree.

Matthew Seacord, adjunct instructor who teaches classes on Charleston campus, says, “I would get rid of all armed guards on campus. I think it is not conducive to an educational environment.”

He continues, “Also, it is far from obvious that it is going to solve any useful problems. That is, if there is a shooting, it’s often the case that the shooting has already taken place and having more guns in that situation doesn’t necessarily make the problem any better.”

A 2018 summary released by the National Association of School Psychologists supports this. “Research has found security strategies, such as the use of security guards and metal detectors, to be consistently ineffective in protecting students and to be associated with more incidents of school crime and disruption and higher levels of disorder in schools.”

The NASP summary also theorizes that an increase in the number of armed security guards or police officers may actually lead to more violence in schools by, “Strengthening the influence of youth street culture with its emphasis on self-protection.” It goes on to say the presence of police officers, “Negatively impacts students’ perceptions of safety and even increases fear among some students.”

However, one of Seacord’s students Rachel Cory has a different opinion. She says a further increase in the number of officers on campus would be justified because, “In our day and age, you never know what is going to happen. It is a safety precaution.”

According to the NASP summary, “The widespread public impression that schools are unsafe—fueled by rare but highly visible school shootings—is contradicted by empirical evidence. In fact, schools are not only safe but are arguably safer today than they were a decade ago.”

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