The top Democrat in the Iowa Senate says it’s too soon to say whether campus cops should carry side arms. The Board of Regents — the panel that governs activities at the state-universities in Ames, Iowa City and Cedar Falls — announced that they’ll be conducting a full review of campus security, in addition to student counseling services.
Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says legislators should wait for that review to be done. “We think it’s appropriate to talk with the Board of Regents, to explore with them what they think are the appropriate steps to take,” Gronstal says. “We’ll be happy to take their recommendations and deal with them.” The Iowa Senate on Wednesday night voted on a proposal that would have armed campus security officers at Iowa, Iowa State and UNI, the vote was nearly along party lines and failed in a tie.
Gronstal, who voted against the proposal to arm the campus cops, says it’s also important to note that state law does not prohibit campus police from carrying weapons, allowing the Board of Regents to decide the issue. “It’s entirely appropriate to act, but I think we’ve got to take recommendations from the Board of Regents, from our Regents institutions, on what those steps are,” he says.
Gronstal is urging campus officials to ensure they have procedures in place so troubled students like the gunman at Virginia Tech are dealt with before tragedy happens. “I think it is an incredible tragedy,” Gronstal says. “…It would appear there were some danger signs in the case of Virginia Tech, so I think we ought to take a close look at that, make sure we have enough resources to deal with those kind of warning signs at our institutions of higher education.” Gronstal made his comments this morning during taping of the Iowa Public Television program “Iowa Press.”