December 20, 2000
PLYMOUTH, N.H. Plymouth State College Campus Police are expected to begin
selective arming of their officers early next year, following President Donald
P. Wharton’s announcement that he has accepted recommendations made by the Campus
Safety Task Force.
The task force recommends that one campus police officer per shift be armed.
These officers will have the ability to respond to high-risk incidents on campus
or in a back-up capacity for Plymouth or Holderness. PSC Campus Police Chief
John E. Clark will develop a detailed plan covering any additional conditions
under which arming of sworn and certified campus police officers may also be
justified, such as special event situations. “I knew this would not be a simple
yes or no answer,” says President Wharton, “and the process has not been an
easy one. I commend those who took part in it. The intense and thorough examination
of the issues has resulted in a reasonable compromise for meeting the needs
of the campus, as well as for the towns of Plymouth and Holderness.”
Chief Clark agrees, “It’s a move in the right direction. My primary concern
has always been safety, and I hope this will allow us to bring a greater degree
of safety in responding to the needs of our campus and the surrounding community.
I’m glad my officers and I could work with the task force to come to some compromise
on a very passionate issue for our campus community.”
Selective arming for either day-to-day operations or special circumstances
will not be implemented until Chief Clark develops the appropriate polices,
procedures and protocols, and they are reviewed by the task force. President
Wharton anticipates this will be completed early in the spring semester. Other
recommendations made by the task force include the development of a Student
Safety Officer Program aimed at enhancing safety/security-related duties, and
a Campus Police Advisory Board to evaluate the effectiveness of safety/security
programs and make
recommendations for improvement. A copy of the task force’s final report is
available online at http://www.plymouth.edu/psc/reslife/cstf/finalrept.htm.
The Campus Safety Task Force was comprised of one female and one male from each
of the four major campus constituent groups – faculty, operating staff, professional/
administrative/technical staff and students – as well as Dean of Student Affairs
Dick Hage and Tim Keefe, associate dean of student affairs. Chief Clark and
Plymouth Police Chief Tony Raymond served as consultants to the task force.
Dean Hage, who served as facilitator, says, “Members of the task force are
dedicated, loyal people who had the best interests of the campus and community
at heart. They worked hard to represent their constituents, balance ideas and
develop a reasonable solution.”