11 Jun

Why I oppose the arming of URI campus police

Edwin Fava
Masters candidate 2015

Why I oppose the arming of URI campus police

My personal opposition to the arming of URI campus police stems from my belief that pistols and other sidearms exist for the explicit purpose of killing humans. By arming our campus police force, we will be injecting the possibility, and therefore the threat, of deadly force into every interaction they have with members of the community. This threat will be present regardless of whether or not it is warranted or necessary. I see no benefit to artificially escalating a situation by the introduction of a firearm, especially when the police force has acted effectively over its history without them.

As for tools presently at their disposal, our currently unarmed police force still has years of non-violent conflict resolution at its disposal along with well-armed town and state police close by. By arming our first responders we are taking a high-risk, low-reward gamble on an armed police force using their weapons to neutralize a dangerous criminal before they use them to injure or kill an innocent member of the community.

Furthermore, without an armed guard in every room on campus, any arming of officers will only lead to responding to, not the preventing of shootings. While Pres. Dooley seems to feel that a mass shooting on campus is an inevitable occurrence, the truth is that gun deaths in the US are at an all-time low, further lowering the justification of perceived danger as a rationale for arming campus police.

All of this is only compounded by the huge cost ($150,000 in the first year, $23,000 each year after) of arming the police. This does not even take into account the increased pay for armed officers or the potential lawsuits from wrongful deaths. These are funds that could be spent on positive applications such as greater graduate assistant pay or dental insurance premiums. While the arming of campus police may seem like a foregone conclusion, we can still raise our voices against this unnecessary solution in search of a problem.

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