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Davenport to arm its security guards

Posted at 7:36 PM, Jan 31, 2020

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State University and Lansing Community College have their own police departments with armed officers on patrol, and now, another school is planning to protect its campus with guns.

As of now, security guards are only armed with handcuffs so carrying guns would be a change. Students say while that is a concern, they're excited to see the university stepping up measures to protect them.

"It's just scary to think it can happen to you at any point in time," said Olivia Curtice, a student at Davenport University.

Curtice is talking about the number of active shooter situations across the country. FBI statistics show there were 227 active shooter situations from 2000 to 2018 with 20% of them happening at schools.

"We're a very safe campus, few issues. We pride ourselves on our safety. But when we looked at what was happening in the national scene, and active shooters, and the other issues at the national scene that are in play, we felt that it would probably be in our best interest to move toward having an armed capability for our public safety team," said Matt Miller, executive director of risk management at the university.

Now, Davenport University is joining colleges across the country to arm security guards at its five stand-alone campuses.

"The way the world is today, it's better to have somebody with training, who's trained with weapons and have a gun like a security guard, than not having anything. It's so easy, I mean they have windows in all the doors," said Gery Dankenbring, a Davenport University student.

"My main concern is whoever is going to be protecting us is here to protect us and that's going to be able to handle the situation correctly, think fast on it, you know stuff like that," said Kamara Hammie, former Davenport University student.

The university said the qualification and training process will be rigorous and will include diversity training.

"We know with arming any kind of educational facility, it's a hot button issue right, that's why we've spent so much time interacting with the various groups on campus," Miller said.

Because the public safety will be armed they'd be considered private sworn police and have to meet state mandates. People should start seeing armed guards on campus by September.

The university did a feasibility study before making the decision. It also plans to get feedback from the students as it is implemented.

Davenport University has a little more than 6,500 students overall, 700 of them are at the Lansing campus.

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