Evangel University to arm campus officers www.privateofficer.com
Evangel University is arming its security officers.
It’s a move that’s been several years in the making.
“We really don’t experience that many problems on campus.”
Evangel Director of Security Gene Thomlinson would like that trend to continue.
“In the 41 years I’ve been here we’ve experience claw hammers and screw drivers and knives- had one incident with a rifle, but that’s over a span of 40 years. That’s one every ten years,” Thomlinson explains.
“I’d rather have it and never need to use it than need to use it and not have it,” says Andy Englert, one of Evangel’s security officers.
Actual incidents are not the inspiration for adding a lethal weapon to his waistband.
It’s the better safe than sorry mantra.
Evangel security says the biggest problem on campus is people entering vehicles, riffling through and taking stuff.
But a bigger concern is North Glenstone Avenue, usually packed with traffic and right alongside campus.
“It is not a matter of the people here; it’s those people we don’t know that could come from wherever,” says Dr. Robert Spence, the university’s president.
“They tell us they can respond to us in a major situation in about seven minutes,” Thomlinson tells us, refering to Springfield police.
So instead of getting police officers Evangel is getting guns.
“Actually it was the student senate that made the first request,” says Spence.
The university board of directors complied, voting unanimously to allow it’s security officers to pack heat, next to a baton and a cannister of mace.
“We’re willing to pick up the tab.”
That’s what the student body said.
A $10 a year security fee will help offset the cost to carry.
Most are excited.
“It makes us feel like if there’s a problem we have someone to go to rather than calling security and then the police,” one student tells us.
Some are hesitant.
“It’s kind of a scary thought,” another says.
All say so is this: Virginia Tech.
Other universities in the area utilize Springfield police.
Missouri State has a sub-station, OTC hires officers to work during its busiest times, and Drury has two officers.
Hiring officers cost Drury more than $136,000 the first year; Thomlinson says Evangel’s start-up costs will be $20,000.
Evangel’s security guards will not have arresting powers.
They will still have to call Springfield police for back-up if a situation arises.