Walking through campus on an ordinary day or sometimes not so ordinary night, students may encounter an officer of the CSU Police Department.
“Run-ins (with officers) were relatively frequent when I lived in the dorms. My friends and I saw them patrolling quite a bit, guns and all,” said junior political science major Adam Goers. “But seriously, how necessary are those guns?”
Fort Collins has maintained a low crime rate with the exception of fights, vandalism and bike theft. However, the CSU police force intends to stay equipped with mace, nun chucks, a baton, plus a firearm ranging from a .38, a 9mm, a .45, to a 12-gauge shotgun, according to Police Chief Bob Chaffee.
However, actual use of any of these weapons is rare, and there hasn’t been a firing of any handgun by an officer in many years, he said.
Additional training that officers must acquire includes hands on grappling techniques based on the martial arts of Aikido and the Koga system.
This training allows police officers to deal with situations such as large, uncontrollable fights without resorting to unnecessary means of force.
“State law requires (police officers) to use reasonable and necessary force,” Chaffee said. “The purpose is to exert a lot of pain, to gain compliance, with a low risk of injury…we don’t punish, we control people. The courts determine punishment… State law also requires an officer to report excessive use of force by another officer.”
The nun chucks serve as a similar method of control, for they are used not to strike, but to implement a scissor pinch on the wrists of a non-cooperative person.
Mace is to be used in situations where a non-cooperative person is endangering another person or officer and the actual drawing of a firearm only occurs five to six times a year and is generally in extreme cases, Chaffee said.
“As long as nobody’s rights are being violated, I’m completely fine with the fact that the police are well armed,” Goers said.