Even as statistics show UR has a safe campus does not mean Security does not confront potentially dangerous, even lethal situations on a daily basis. As the University asks more of Security, it is time to reevaluate how they are trained and equipped.
First, what level of safety and protection does the UR community need? Second, what level of personal risk can the community reasonably ask its officers to assume if they are not properly equipped to carry out the full range of actions needed to assure a high level of safety? Just because statistics show a safe campus does not mean Security does not confront potentially dangerous and even lethal situations on a daily basis.
Security deals with violent criminals often in Strong Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Department. They confront unaffiliated, sometimes violent people, who disrupt weekend social events and try to access fraternity houses. When crimes are reported in progress, it is Security that responds first. And as the University’s property expands, such as with the Brooks Landing project in the 19th ward, it is no longer reasonable to expect Security to safely and effectively protect UR.
The law limits the abilities of what Security officers may do with their current level of training and certification. They cannot make arrests, investigate crimes, prepare cases for prosecution, access state criminal records to check for warrants or make traffic stops. Nor, above all, do they carry guns or even non-lethal weapons to defend themselves and others. Yet still they are expected to detain criminals with just handcuffs and wait for RPD, further burdening an already overloaded police department that is often unable to respond as quickly as needed.
This is dangerous for both students and the security officers. It is not unusual for security officers to be injured in the course of their duties. Is it really going to take a serious injury to an officer, employee, patient, visitor or even student for UR to commit to giving its officers the tools it needs?