Security Guards to Be Allowed to Carry Guns on New Mexico Community College Campus

The Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell (ENMU-R) community College board voted 5-0 Wednesday to allow some guards to be armed after increased training procedures and screening on Wednesday, according to US News and World Report, the Houston Chronicle, and the Roswell Daily Record. The vote was followed by three campus meetings in August and September attended by roughly 55 people, including 10 students.

Security officers who don't wish to arm themselves with deadly weapons will be offered further training in how to use disabling but non-lethal devices such as pepper spray, batons, tasers and stun guns, said authorities.

The request was filed by Brad McFadin, the head of Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell security. McFadin told the board, "As you recall, part of enhancing student success is to enhance security. We've improved our lighting and our video surveillance to improve what we already have on campus. … Becoming armed is just another option and tool to that, to enhance our student success," according to the Roswell Daily Record.

"We feel—I feel—this is a necessary thing with all the things that have been going on," McFadin added, referring to multiple mass shootings which have taken place nationwide, as well as deadly campus shootings such as an April 30 shooting at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, which killed two and wounded four.

McFadin also explained that his team holds emergency drills for both students and staff as part of his team's efforts to keep the campus safe. McFadin suggested that four to six guards might be armed in the future.

armed guard
Arming security guards at ENMU-R is estimated to cost $272,157: $20,520 for training, $232,806 for an increase in pay and benefits for two officers offered promoted positions and $18,831 for equipment. Getty

According to ENMU-R security statistics, there has been one arrest and eleven referrals to law enforcement on the campus between 2015 and 2017.

Currently, McFadin's guards must call Roswell Police Department or the Chaves County Sheriff's Office for assistance when armed guards are required—and while police forces always respond, it take crucial minutes for them to reach the campus, according to the Daily Record.

"If they [law enforcement] are further in town, north of Brasher, north of Poe Street, even running quickly, it will take them some time [to get here]," said McFadin.

The initial costs of this move were also accounted for by the vote. That estimate currently stands at $272,157: $20,520 for training, $232,806 for an increase in pay and benefits for two officers offered promoted positions, $18,831 for equipment. There will be an additional recurring cost of roughly $7,000 a year.

No decision has been made as to when training for the officers will begin or be completed.

The decision on the ENMU-R campus echoes decisions playing out on campuses nationwide. This year, colleges in Iowa, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maryland and Connecticut have chosen to arm campus guards.