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College Trustees Reject New Guns for Police

August 21, 1998|CHRIS CEBALLOS

A request by campus police to purchase new handguns for officers was rejected this week by the South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees.

Police urged that the district replace the current .38-caliber revolvers with 9-millimeter semiautomatics, which officials described as safer weapons.

But the board decided that the $19,000 upgrade was unnecessary.

Trustee David B. Lang abstained from the vote but said that the district should consider abolishing guns altogether.

About 30% of the state's 107 community colleges have armed police forces. Saddleback and Irvine Valley colleges are the only county community colleges to have armed police.

The district police began carrying guns in 1973. Officers have never had to draw their weapons in response to a campus crime.

Guns "were brought in for one reason," Chief Harry Parmer said, "to increase the safety of the officers and for the students."

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