Campus officers in Compton, Calif., have been authorized to carry AR-15 assault rifles, KPCC reports.
The argument in favor of the military-issued assault weapons, which follows a vote that the school board passed in July, is that campus officers are currently not adequately equipped to handle a terrorist attack or mass shooting, according to Compton Unified Police Chief William Wu.
“This is our objective—save lives, bottom line,” Wu told the board, according to KPCC, citing studies showing that mass shooters sometimes wear armor that cannot be penetrated by standard weapons.
“Handguns, you’d be lucky to hit accurately at 25 yards,” Wu said. “With a rifle in the hands of a trained person, you can go 50, 100 yards accurately.”
Campus police will have to pass an internal selection process to buy and carry the weapons while on duty. However, that does little to ease the concerns of the community.
“The school police has been very notorious in the community and in reality has never had to shoot anyone before,” Francisco Orozco, a local high school graduate, told KPCC. “So this escalation of weapons we feel is very unnecessary.”
According to Orozco, there was a lawsuit filed last year by district parents who said that school officers were racially profiling students. The parents also lodged accusations of excessive force.
“The school police has not even earned the right to carry handguns,” Orozco added.
Read more at KPCC.