Campus police armed all week

Rebecca Carton

Unknown to most of the student body, the ISU Police have been carrying firearms while on duty for the better part of a week.

The campus police have been carrying the firearms since 7:30 a.m. Monday morning. This makes ISU Police the first of the regent universities’ police forces to carry firearms after the Board of Regents’ decision on Oct. 31.

The police began carrying the weapons after the necessary documents and recommendations were approved by both the senior administration and the president of the university.

Cmdr. Gene Deisinger said that they followed all the requirements the Board of Regents asked of them.

“We were just following through on the implementation steps laid out by the board,” he said.

Deisinger also said there was no announcement to the student body about the police carrying guns because “we are just police officers doing what police officers do.”

He said the department only had to “internally update departmental policies to reflect the board policy.” One of the main changes to the policy is that the department must notify the Board of Regents whenever deadly force is used. This was done while gathering the materials proving compliance.

“Gathering materials of compliance are the specific responsibility of the institution to ensure proper instrumentation and approval from the president,” he said.

Deisinger said, because the department was already in compliance with the training standards that were required of them, it only needed to gather the documents that proved their compliance with the standards.

“All those materials were reviewed by senior administration,” Deisinger said. “They were reviewed, recommended to the president and routine arming began on Monday.”

Chuck Green, director of public safety at the University of Iowa, said he did not know when the University of Iowa’s campus police will carry firearms.

“[That decision] will be made by the president, who is not here right now,” Green said.

While Green did not know when the change would officially be made, he said the process is well underway and will be made after proving “that we fulfill all requirements in policy.”

“The document is in the administration’s hands right now,” Green said.

The University of Northen Iowa is also waiting to arm its campus police.

Dave Zarifis, director of public safety at the University of Northen Iowa, said the university is putting together an advisory committee that will oversee the recommendations made to the president. The committee will review all use-of-force issues with the department of public safety and become a “soundboard for the department and campus at large on safety issues and training issues.”

“The president wanted an independent, transparent document of all use-of-force issues,” Zarifis said.

The committee, made up of two faculty senate members, two members of the professional sciences, two merit faculty and two students, have had one meeting and will have a follow-up on Nov. 30.

“We’re pretty much gearing up to get ready,” Zarifis said.

The Iowa and UNI Police will carry the SigSauer 229 pistol, which is the same gun the ISU Police are carrying now. These are the pistols that all the officers are certified to use. The provisional arming policy that the campuses were under before the board’s meeting allowed the departments to have the firearms but not to carry them while on duty.