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This is not a Massachusetts case but maybe it could help with your firearms proposal.

Ohlone cops consider getting guns
By Barry Shatzman

Monday, November 08, 2004 - FREMONT -- Ohlone College police officers
soon will be carrying guns if college officials approve a request
from the chief of the campus police department.

Saying it is necessary to be prepared at all times, Ohlone Police
Chief Steve Fajardo said that the move to arm Ohlone's officers is
long overdue.

"Part of being a police officer is carrying a weapon," he said.

While crime is almost nonexistent on the Ohlone campus, Fajardo said
the police department needs to be prepared should a violent event
happen. He pointed out that there have been fights and incidents with
rowdy people, including non-students.

A police officer, simply by having or drawing a gun, can stop an act
of violence, or make a felony arrest safer, he said.

Fajardo, who worked as a police officer in the Oakland school
district for 22 years, said he has never fired his gun on the job.

Only Fajardo and the college's other sworn officer, Ben Peralta,
would be armed.

"Ben (Peralta) and I are very well-trained and capable of handling
the job," he said.

Other experts agree that training is the key element.

Fremont Police Chief Craig Steckler said that he spoke to Fajardo and
supports the move -- as long as the officers meet state training

Rich Cominos, who teaches Administration of Justice at Ohlone and
worked for 25 years as a police officer, said that cops in California
are among the best-trained in the country.

"Other states have modeled California on police training," he said.

Cominos pointed out that training involves learning when to use --
and when not to use -- a weapon. It also includes scenarios and
psychological training. He added that similar training is needed for
any weapon, such as Tasers, batons or pepper spray.

Fajardo said he considered less-lethal options such as Tasers -- and
would like to have them -- but not as a replacement for firearms. He
cited studies showing that Tasers have failed in some cases.

"One is too many when you have a failure," he said.

Students interviewed on the Ohlone campus had mixed feelings about
campus police officers carrying firearms.

Michelle Lyon, studying psychology, said she could see situations
where guns might be needed.

:shock: "I know how people are unpredictable," she said. Her friend, physics major Tuanmu Johnson, said he doesn't think there are any circumstances warranting the move. :shock:

"In a community like Fremont, you don't need all that firepower. (An
officer can) pick up a brick and throw it at them," Johnson said.
College officials said they are aware the issue is a sensitive one, and are planning to hold a forum for students to voice their opinions before a final decision is made. No date for the forum has been set. :shock:

Ohlone is one of the only Bay Area colleges not to have armed police
officers, according to Fajardo. He said he understands both sides,
and isn't taking the issue lightly.

"It's serious that we (officers) have a weapon on campus. But it's
also serious that we have to protect ourselves," he said.

Barry Shatzman covers Ohlone College for The Argus. He can be reached
at (510) 353-7003, or [email protected] .
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