Aiming to Arm

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Published on December 14, 2015

In the aftermath of the shooting in California, community colleges in Connecticut are aiming to arm all security officers, Connecticut News 12 reported. The Board of Regents voted unanimously to place a gun in the hands of security officers statewide.

How do HCC students feel about the Board of Regents unanimous decision?

“I would rather them[the security guards ] have guns on hand than to wait for help,” says Janay Snider.

“I think it’s a good idea,” says Lindsay Collins. “I’d rather be safe than sorry. If there were ever a shooting at HCC they would be the first on the scene so why shouldn’t they have protection.”

“ I would feel more protected” says Michelle Rascoe.

It seems that the sentiment of all students is that they want protection and safety on campus. It is unfortunate that students must have the added anxiety over their safety while attending school.

I myself have had a sense of disquietude, in that if presented with a crazed gunman inside the classroom there is nowhere to run or hide. I have often wished classroom doors were locked from the outside during class time.

Yet most students are not aware that “HCC has the largest security force in the Community College system, only Naugatuck is a close second,” states Police Master Sergeant Christopher K. Gough. “Police, State Officers, and contract security guards are on patrol during all college hours of operation.”

As Gough sits behind his desk, he swivels around to show me the view of  the construction site on Lafayette Avenue on his video surveillance. The image was clear and in color. With the click of a few buttons, he zoomed in on the scene. I didn’t know what I expected, but this surpassed all of the fuzzy camera shots shown on local news. This equipment makes it easier to identify perpetrators and monitor what is going on or happening at any given moment. Forget the fuzzy images you see on the local news that asks for identification of some perp in a hat, coat and crocs that looks like every guy you’ve seen the past half hour.


Security staff can get clear views all over campus.

Gough explained HCC has a “Critical Incidence Response Team” on site, that will assemble and manage any crisis on campus and off: even a Hazmat spill on I-95 is not out of their realm.

I also learned of the Blue Light intercoms located in the corridors and the parking garage. Any student in trouble can activate it by pressing the button and security can see you, and find you on one of their 300 cameras around campus, or 100 in the garage area.

Gough will tell you anything you want to know.  He invites anyone with questions to come to his office in Lafayette Hall, and to visit the Security section of HCC web site (click here) for procedures on evacuation and lock-down.

The Clery Report 2015 shows the crime incidences that happen on campus. HCC’s safety record is impeccable, and you can check it out for yourself  here. At the risk of sounding like a public service announcement in these days when everyone plays a role and has a responsibility to keep our community college safe.  If something does not look right or your gut tells you something is rotten in Denmark, do not hesitate… report it.

Gough is very confident in his security team, and it is difficult to sit there and listen to him without a smile creeping across your face. There is this feeling that  no matter what fight you find yourself in… You want him and his team on your side.

“Boots on the ground! We are out there! We are paying attention,” says Gough.