GOVERNING BOARD RETREAT
APRIL 25, 2002
A retreat of the Maricopa County Community College District Governing Board was scheduled to be held at 9:00 a.m. at the Scottsdale Community College, 9000 East Chaparral Road, Scottsdale, Arizona, pursuant to A.R.S. §38-431.02, notice having been duly given.
Nancy Stein, President
Donald R. Campbell, Member
Gene Eastin, Member
Linda B. Rosenthal, Member
Ed Contreras, Secretary
Patti Johnson for Arnette Ward
Gene Giovannini & Daughter
Ruth Unks, Risk Management
Mike Rooney, District Safety Committee
Diana Davidson, District Safety Committee
Jim Mansfield, District Safety Committee
Wil McFadden, District Safety Committee
Jack Rose, District Safety Committee
Bill Crawford, District Safety Committee
23 Certified Safety Officers
John Neibling, Ad Hoc Committee
Brian Belsher, Ad Hoc Committee
Paul Dale, Ad Hoc Committee
Donna White, Ad Hoc Committee
Gloria Smith, Governing Board Assistant
CALL TO ORDER
President Nancy Stein called the retreat to order at 9:00 a.m.
The purpose of the retreat was to present members of the Governing Board and the Chancellor's Executive Council with the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Arming of College Safety Officers, as prepared by John Neibling (Chair), Brian Belsher, Donna White, Bill Crawford, and Paul Dale.
Introductory Remarks by Governing Board Member Nancy Stein and Chancellor Fred Gaskin:
Both Mrs. Stein and Dr. Gaskin expressed appreciation to everyone present. Governing Board Members present were introduced. Dr. Gaskin commented that the agenda had been structured to allow everyone to leave having learned more about arming of college safety officers. He briefly remarked on the press conference held on April 24 pertaining to support for biomedical research and training. The funding for this training will come from Proposition 301. Dr. Gaskin also announced that with the departure of Dr. Tessa Martinez Pollack, Dr. Phil Randolph will serve as interim president of Glendale Community College and Dr. Rufus Glasper will serve as Vice Chancellor for both Human Resources and Business Services.
Remarks by Dr. Art DeCabooter, Chair of the District Safety Committee
Dr. DeCabooter mentioned that the topic of arming college safety officer is cyclical in that the Maricopa Community Colleges used to have armed officers; however, in 1979 that process was eliminated. The 1994 bond election stressed that the top priority was safety on the campuses and former Chancellor Paul Elsner established the District Safety Committee. The accomplishments of this initiative have been the following:
1. There are now 26 certified officers throughout the Maricopa Community College District.
2. Surveillance cameras, emergency telephones, and panic buttons have been installed on all campuses.
3. Direct communication link to the Department of Public Safety.
4. Safety policy manual.
5. Defibrillators on all the campuses.
6. Acquisition of police cars at the police academy and on the campuses.
7. Survey at the District Support Services Center regarding safety.
8. Formation of an Ad Hoc Committee for Arming Certified Safety Officers.
Remarks by Dr. John Neibling, Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on Arming of Certified Safety Officers (A copy of the Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Arming of College Safety Officer is attached to the minutes of this retreat.)
Dr. Neibling reported that the committee had focused its research on four things:
1. Review of literature on this topic
2. Comparisons to similar institutions
3. Examination of crime data
4. Profile of MCCCD officers
The committee was unable to locate any primary research on arming or not arming of college safety officers. Most information found was geared toward four-year institutions and the most current information was dated 1995. Seven colleges were contacted. These contacts revealed that six of the seven colleges employed certified officers and five out of the seven armed their certified officers. Analysis of the crime data reports showed that Clery Reports depressed the numbers and that campus incident reports were not documented. Parking lot crime had the most activity and had the greatest potential for violence. Profiles of college safety officers show that 20 out of 23 have prior police experience, 16 of 23 have associate degrees or higher, 12 out of 23 have bachelor's or master's degrees.
Questions asked pertained to liability issues and reliance on civil police departments. The question was raised as to whether there was greater liability in arming or not arming officers. Dr. Neibling answered that safe learning environments are the primary concern and the secondary concern is the liability issue.
Remarks by Wil McFadden, Safety Director at Phoenix College, and Les Strickland, Certified College Safety Officer at Phoenix College
Mr. McFadden thanked everyone for the opportunity to speak on this topic. He stated that it was the mission of the College Safety Group to create a safe learning environment for the colleges served. Safety was the top priority of the 1994 Bond Initiative and, as stated before, much has been accomplished. It is the intent to proactively build upon this with the 2004 Bond Initiative and therefore three groups have been put together, i.e., Workplace Violence Committee, Disruptive Student Task Force, and Maricopa Emergency and Disaster Committee. Mr. McFadden voiced that college safety officers should be armed for (1) safety purposes, (2) to prevent and deter crime, and (3) the ability to take appropriate action.
The following points were made pertaining to perception and liability issues:
· Many students come from schools that have uniformed and armed officers.
· MCCCD officers are uniformed and presumed to be armed.
· Appropriate ability to respond to any and all emergencies on campus.
· Response time averages 5-7 minutes from outside agencies.
· Lack of campus familiarity of outside agencies. Campus officers know where everything is.
· Level of experience is greater on campus (most officers are retired and average 15 years of experience).
· College safety officers are first responders to emergency situations on campus.
· Education level is very high among college safety officers.
· Weapons are defensive tools.
· Lack of a weapon is the greatest deterrent to bringing in qualified people.
· Hiring pool is minimal. There are ten vacancies right now and only two officers available.
· Officers must be Arizona Peace Officer Standards-qualified which consists of an extensive background check, oral interview, polygraph test, psychological test, and medical test.
Mr. Strickland spoke about the training that college safety officers possess. They are all trained at the police academy for four months and must also possess 46 hours of firearms training and qualifications. They must pass Az POST qualifications once a year with a 83% or better score. College safety officers must adhere to the Firearms Training System which consists of using the least amount of force necessary to solve the problem and using a gun as a last resort. They must also follow the Force Continuum policy which consists of:
Stage One: Officer presence
Stage Two: Verbal persuasion
Stage Three: Weaponless arrest and control tactics
Stage Four: Use of chemical (mace)
Stage Five: Use of non-lethal weapons
Stage Six: Use of lethal weapons and deadly force
In closing remarks, Mr. McFadden invited Governing Board Members and CEC to spend a second shift with college safety personnel and ride around with them. The question of where to go from here continues to be an open issue and remains in the hands of the Governing Board and the Chancellor's Executive Council.
Governing Board Observations & Comments
President Nancy Stein requested comments pertaining to any recent experiences where being armed would have resulted in different outcomes. Five officers related their incidents. They were Harold Cass from Glendale Community College, Les Strickland from Phoenix College, Charles Summers from Estrella Mountain Community College, Scott Meek from Paradise Valley Community College, and Brian Langford from Chandler Gilbert Community College.
Harold Cass, EMC
Mr. Cass related an incident that occurred on the campus the week before. He indicated that the perception if not armed is that the safety officer is not a police officer. On Friday night he approached a car wherein individuals were smoking marijuana in the back seat of a car. He knocked on the window and the driver drove off. He got the license number. At the same time there was an ATM incident as well. That individual refused to stop and ran off, however the safety officer caught up with him and tackled him to the ground. Offsite police were called and individual was arrested. He commented that college safety officers are perceived as security guards.
Les Strickland, PC
Mr. Strickland reported on an incident that occurred one year ago when a person was running through the gymnasium. They got word that there was a burglary suspect in the area.
Charles Summers, EMC
Mr. Summers spoke about a male individual who was distributing illegal advertising and was able to be stopped because officer was in uniform. They assisted the Avondale Police Department in arresting the suspect on the campus.
Scott Meek, PVC
Mr. Meek spoke about a road rage incident on 32nd Street which ended up on the campus. One of the individuals had a gun. They took the student inside and called the police department. The gun was not located and suspect went free.
Brian Langford, CGC
Mr. Langford described an incident with some individuals that had alcohol. At the point that they saw no gun, the individuals' demeanor changed. Safety officers were not taken seriously after that point.
Mrs. Rosenthal asked whether the liability was greater with or without guns. Ruth Unks, MCCD Risk Manager, responded per her conversation with an expert from Marsh Insurance in Denver. She was told that college campuses were not the same anymore and violence was going up. "If you are going to ask safety officers to respond, you must hire well, arm them, and train them well."
Dr. Campbell shared his comments that the broader issues must be looked at. His concerns center on what is happening in our society. At one time there were no fences and now we have police officers on elementary school campuses. By arming officers are we contributing to the problems that exist in our society today and building a society where we are killing each other?
The retreat adjourned at 10:25 a.m.
Governing Board Secretary