The University of Nebraska-Kearney police are back in business as far as carrying firearms goes. As of last month, the officers have been toting Glock .40-caliber handguns, most likely Glock 22s.
“Our students and our campus community will be safer with armed officers,” university spokeswoman Kelly Bartling told the Omaha World-Herald.
The campus police were barred from carrying guns a few years after an officer-involved shooting in late 1969. Even though the officer was cleared, the shooting of a 22-year-old man caused a stir in light of other things that were going on at the time. Vietnam War protests and the 1970 shooting at Kent State University were among the factors that colored the university leadership’s decision to ban guns for campus police officers in 1974.
Other University of Nebraska campuses, including the flagship location in Lincoln, were not affected by the 1974 ban.
The discrepancy between how various campuses handle the matter was one of the reasons for the latest change. The university system is aiming for uniformity among campus rules and procedures.
Carrying firearms is considered by many law enforcement officers to be a must.
“It’s a pretty established process,” University of Nebraska-Lincoln Police Chief Owen Yardley said. “All major schools have armed police departments. It makes everybody feel comfortable: people who work on campus, go to school there, parents who come visit.”