NCCC holds off on security officers carrying guns www.privateofficer.com
SANBORN NY Nov 30 2010 — Faculty members at Niagara County Community College want a “comprehensive security plan” in place before they would consider formally supporting putting guns in the hands of campus security.
The college’s Faculty Senate voted last week to withhold support for a proposal to arm security, in what became the latest word in an ongoing debate over whether the college should have peace officers and whether they should be armed.
“It has to be in the context of a much larger security plan,” Faculty Senate President Timothy Veiders said of any move to give the guards guns.
An overall campus security plan does not currently exist, Veiders said, and arming peace officers should not be viewed as an isolated proposal. There also should be consideration of things like a campus emergency phone system and security escorts, he said.
The Faculty Senate on Tuesday voted to request the college develop that security plan— one which “stresses prevention,” said Veiders, a criminal justice professor.
The Faculty Senate also voted to support training campus security guards as peace officers — which would give them the power to make arrests—as well as increasing the number of security guards to a minimum of eight full-time and six part-time. The college had five full-time security guards, and was to add a sixth this school year.
The college employs part-time guards who work weekends. The specific number of part-timers was not immediately available.
In an e-mail last week, college President James P. Klyczek said he is “reluctant to increase any security staffing without being certain who I need to hire — a security guard or a peace officer.”
The college’s board of trustees will consider the overall issue at its meeting next month.
There is no consensus among the board’s personnel committee, committee Chairman Kevin C. Schuler said during a Nov. 17 board meeting. Schuler and Board Chairwoman Bonnie R. Gifford have previously said they support having the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office provide security on campus.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up actually tabling it a little further,” Schuler said at the last meeting.
Schuler said he doesn’t want a split board vote and wants to get to a place where everyone is comfortable with whatever direction is chosen.
Klyczek, the college president, said he needs to know which direction the board wants to go in order to prepare for developing next year’s budget.
“I don’t think you’ll be comfortable ever,” Klyczek said in reply to Schuler at the last meeting. “But you will have to make a decision. If you don’t make a decision, then we keep it the way it is, so, in a way, by not deciding you decide.”
Dennis P. Dragich, the college’s vice president for operations who oversees the security force, presented figures to the board in October which indicated initial, one-time costs to create a force of armed peace officers at about $87,000 to $102,000. That includes costs for equipment, training and salaries for replacements while guards attend the police academy.