On Wednesday at 5:26 p.m. the Springfield College community received an email from the Office of the President. The email stated that on May 1, 2014 all Springfield College Public Safety officers will be armed. The process to arm officers began back in 2009 when it was first discussed.
The idea was originally greeted with understandably mixed feelings. After being prolonged and debated among the college community a decision has finally been made.
Springfield College Police Chief Judy Jackson, who was behind the decision from the beginning, was excited to finalize the date, and believes that arming the officers will serve a greater cause.
“I think I have to speak for myself and my officers that it has been a lot of hard work,” said Jackson. “The college has paid due diligence to what needs to be done to make it happen. I think that as much as we feel that nothing will ever happen at Springfield College, in today’s world we need to be prepared.”
All officers went through, and are still going through extensive training, including “active shooter training,” according to the email. In January Public Safety officers, accompanied by Springfield police SWAT, had a mock shooting inside a residence hall on campus.
It is this training that makes Jackson feel confident about this decision.
“We are pleased to report our officers currently each have more than 60 hours of training and are scheduled to have another 30 hours each by this summer,” stated the email. “Some colleges require only 20 hours of training.”
There have been various shootings at institutions across the country, including one on this campus on Feb. 6, 2013 when a Springfield officer was shot in the femur. Bobby (last name ommited) was headed to his shift as four individuals attempted to rob him and then shot him in his leg. The incident served as an eye-opening experience for the college.
Now that the proper training has almost been completed and the administration feels ready to finalize the decision, Springfield can move forward in taking proper safety measures to further the protection of students.
“There is no higher priority at Springfield College than the safety and security of our students, faculty, staff, and visitors to our campus,” the email stated. “Springfield College continues to strategically invest in campus safety initiatives to ensure the safest campus experience possible.”
Joe Brown contributed to this article.