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Campus Safety Officers to Carry Handcuffs

By Thomas Mattes

This month, Campus Safety is quietly debuting a new tool in its arsenal. After years of discussion, the College has approved Safetys requests for metal handcuffs.

The College has hosted a number of information sessions with students, faculty and staff over the past years. Originally, students protested vigorously, but according to Director of Campus Safety Bob Hooper, understanding eventually spread about why Campus Safety sees handcuffs as an essential tool. The team currently has a few pairs in rotation and aims to eventually outfit every officer with a pair.

Hooper attributed the change to the increase in the number of suspicious persons reported on campus in recent years. In the past, officers have lacked the resources to protect themselves against threats, and there has been a history of long delays in the Sheriffs arrival after a call.

Handcuffs will allow Safety officers to properly protect the students, Hooper said.

With the new handcuffs, officers will be able to detain someone who is a threat to others or to him or herself. The officers can now protect themselves and avoid injuries in troublesome situations like we have had in the past, Hooper said.

President S. Georgia Nugent said a few incidents three years ago increased awareness about what Safety officers have the power to do in terms of restraining an attacker. I think the rationale was that they were thinking [that its] better to have a means of just restraining someone than harming them in some way, she said. Certainly, you will not be surprised that sometimes, under the influence, students are aggressive and violent. [Chief Business Officer Mark Kohlman] said that one of the problems that Safety thinks they face is that if thats the case and they have no means of restraining someone, what literally happens is that an officer kind of has to sit on somebody.

One, sitting on someone doesnt seem like a good way and, two, its actually taking that officer out of commission, in case something else should happen.

This January, all officers went through 40 hours of intensive training to go over both the legal and practical aspects of handcuff use, self-defense training and detention techniques. Although officers opinions on the handcuffs vary, they all think the first priority needs to be safety, according to Hooper.

Captain David Shaffer of the Knox County Sheriffs Office agreed. We have a good working relationship with Kenyon security, he said. We do not expect them to be trying to make arrests, only to secure persons who may be a danger to themselves or others.

When circumstances require restraining or temporarily detaining someone, using handcuffs to do so is much safer and much less likely to result in harm than attempting restraint by hand, according to Hooper.

Using handcuffs is an easy and low-risk way to manage individuals who are belligerent, out of control, flight risks or who may self-injure if not restrained, Dean of Students Hank Toutain said. [I am] convinced that when used appropriately by properly-trained individuals, handcuffs can prevent needless physical injury to Campus Safety officers or others.

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