While it goes against the policy of Mercyhurst College’s administration and the Office of Police & Safety to release information regarding confrontations between students and the police, stories of these altercations are easy to come by, as the apartments on campus are filled with ready witnesses. In the past, there have been multiple occasions where Police & Safety officers have dealt with students hiding firearms in their apartments, and one occasion where officers restrained a violent student only to find a firearm in the same room.
Despite your opinion regarding the officers that walked into your apartment to close down the underage party you were hosting, you have likely felt comfortable knowing your hometown police officers were armed. If you are from Erie or Cleveland, the necessity of an armed police force is all too clear.
Police & Safety officers are more than simply the enforcers of Residence Life’s rules, and to say such is to discount the vast majority of their jobs here on campus. The Erie Police Department’s response time to Mercyhurst Campus has been reported in The Merciad as five minutes. Less than two weeks ago, when emergency services were called to a fight on Lewis Avenue, a second call needed to be made, and another ambulance sent out, as confusion between dispatch and the ambulance caused the first to turn around when it arrived at Briggs Avenue, and leave an injured individual without medical attention for a longer period of time.
There were two identifiable assailants who recently attacked a student. The two attackers are described as large, strong males. At the time of the attack, only one Police & Safety officer responded, armed with a grand total of two items – pepper spray and a nightstick. Had the attackers turned their attention to the officer responding to the fight, the situation could have become even more dangerous for the officer and the victim.
However, if the officer had been able to respond with a Taser, the officer would have been entering the situation with the upper hand. Taser International’s website notes that the newest generation Taser shoots three sets of prongs and is entirely safe for use on belligerent suspects. While there have been several deaths circumstantially related to the use of Tasers, multiple studies have been conducted that dispel such worries. In a study published by Academic Emergency Medicine, sheep injected with methamphetamines, which negatively affect the cardiovascular system, showed no life-threatening cardiovascular symptoms after being Tased.
The assailants vastly outnumbered their prey, and the Police & Safety officer who responded could have fallen victim to the same cowards who decided to gang up and attack the victim. The blood of any student or officer harmed while the officers remain unarmed will be on the hands of the administration of Mercyhurst College.
The administration is simply lucky that on this occasion, there was not more.