Department of Public Safety armory holds officers’ pistols, students’ hunting weapons
March 26, 2015
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Before the Department of Public Safety officers go out on their shifts, they are briefed on the previous day’s trends, check out radios and enter a small 8-by-12 room that is the DPS armory to check out their weapons.
The armory houses 48 small lockers that hold each DPS officers’ assigned firearm, a standard issue glock pistol. There is a small countertop with cleaning supplies for proper weapon maintenance and cabinets with starter pistols and first aid kits, but there are no gun racks holding shotguns and automatic rifles.
In fact, the only long guns in the armory are those that belong to students.
“No shotguns, no rifles, no armored cars, no automatic weapons, or anything like that, no long guns are assigned to the department at all,” DPS Lieutenant Jeff Kranz said. “The only long guns we have are the ones that we store for students that hunt during the summer and need a place to keep their guns.”
In January, University President Michael Lovell announced that DPS would make the transition to become an independent police department. Kranz said he doesn’t see an expansion of the armory happening any time soon. Director and Chief of Public Safety Paul Mascari also said there are no plans to change the weapons policy.
“Our firearm policy and training already comply and meet with what is required of a commissioned police department and will not need to be changed,” Mascari said.
DPS officers that have completed the necessary training and certifications always carry a pistol with them when they go out on patrol. The weapon policy for officers match those of most police forces, according to Kranz. Officers are only allowed to discharge weapons when someone’s life is in danger and are never allowed to fire a warning shot of any kind.
“All of our officers must complete 800 hours of initial training, including 40 hours of firearms-specific training if they will carry a firearm, the extensive training covers when to use and, just as importantly, when not to use a firearm,” Mascari said. “It is the same curriculum used for police officers, so our training would not change once we transition to a police department.”
Compared to some other colleges across the country, Marquette’s security weaponry is tame. At least 124 colleges have acquired military surplus equipment from the Department of Defense through a federal program known as the 1033 program, according to a Washington Times report. Schools like the University of Central Florida have acquired grenade launchers and 23 M-16 assault rifles from this program.
Hinds Community College in western Mississippi also acquired a grenade launcher from the program. At least 66 institutions have acquired M-16s through the program. Arizona State University holds the most, with 70 in its arsenal.
Small towns in Michigan and Indiana have used the 1033 Program to acquire “MRAP armored troop carriers, night-vision riflescopes, camouflage fatigues, Humvees and M16 automatic rifles,” the South Bend Tribune reported.
Marquette is not part of the 1033 program, and DPS has no plans to enter it, University Spokesman Andy Brodzeller said.
“People think armory and think that we have walls of machine guns, but that’s not true,” Kranz said. “A lot of what we try and do here is make ourselves visible to the public.”