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BEACH / MISSION VIEJO

College Campus Police to Get Upgraded Guns

September 16, 1998|CHRIS CEBALLOS

Campus police in the South Orange County Community College District will get new weapons under a $19,000 plan approved Monday by trustees.

In a 4-to-1 vote, trustees approved upgrading campus police weapons from .38-caliber revolvers to 9-millimeter semiautomatic handguns.

Campus police officials said the upgrade, endorsed by the Orange County Sheriff's Department, is necessary because the 15-year-old revolvers in use lack safety devices.

This is the second time the trustees considered a request to upgrade the weapons. In August the same request failed by a 3-to-2 vote.

Trustee Joan Hueter cast the deciding vote Monday, having originally voted against the upgrade. Hueter said her son-in-law, a reserve sheriff's deputy, explained to her the safety benefits of the 9-millimeter weapons.

"I don't like guns," Hueter said. "But I do feel safer with our police force being armed."

Trustee David Lang abstained from the vote but proposed a motion to disarm the campus police, which was defeated.

"There are better ways we can protect our students," Lang said.

"It's just a travesty to even suggest that you disarm the police in the community," said Ted Romas, Irvine Valley College police chief.

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

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