Tuesday, November 22, 2011

1998: Should SOCCCD cops have guns?

SC Police Chief Harry P
     Earlier today, in response to a post about the UC Davis “pepper spray” incident, one reader, contemplating the possibility of student protests at Irvine Valley College, wrote
Our campus police carry guns, don't they? I've always thought that unnecessary. I hope there is a policy in place of how to handle student protests peacefully.
     Not sure about policies. The district’s board policies can be found here. The district’s “speech and advocacy” policies can be found here.
     Upon reading the above comment, I recalled a board discussion about campus cops and their pistols that occurred about a dozen years ago. I wrote about it at the time.
     Found it!
     What follows is from the ‘Vine, #7, September 16, 1998. (The ‘Vine was the Dissent's sister publication.) It’s an excerpt from a longer article about the Sept. 14, 1998, board meeting.

Give us our new guns:

Glock 18c
    The “gun” issue emerged once again. At the last board meeting [at which the gun issue was addressed], campus police chiefs [Harry] Parmer and [Ted] Romas asked for money to replace the police forces’ old and relatively unsafe 38s with au courant 9 mm weapons. Their presentation established that, if campus cops are going to have guns, then they should be new 9 mm jobs, not the old 38s. Trustee [Dorothy] Fortune—who, before she decided to call herself a “fiscal conservative,” was active in the Democratic party—emerged that night as a strong proponent of defanging campus cops. (It turns out that most community college cops are gunless; indeed, ours is the only district in OC that arms its cops.) As I recall, then-Chancellor [Kathie] Hodge and Dave Lang agreed with Fortune, which must have been painful for them. In the end, the cops went home without their new guns, but they managed to keep their old ones.
Dave Lang
    Surprisingly, the issue was back on the agenda [for this month’s meeting]. Fortune once again spoke to the issue. In her remarks, she demonstrated her uncanny knack for really pissing people off, for, in effect, she called Parmer and Romas liars. You see, after the October board meeting, she called up the Orange County Sheriff’s Dept. and talked to a “fellow” there. She asked him about the safety of 38s. “They’re safe weapons,” said the fellow. (Of course, Parmer and Romas didn’t exactly say that 38s are unsafe; they said that 9 mms are relatively safe.) The Fortunate One concluded that she had been lied to or misled by Parmer and Romas. “That’s what you get when you only listen to people with a special interest,” she added. “Let’s spend the money on students, not on guns,” concluded Dot.
S&W model 64
    In response, chief Romas acknowledged that 38s are not unsafe; but the district’s 38s are old, he said. Lang jumped in to express both his respect for Romas/Parmer and his inclination to disarm them. “Why are we the exception among community college districts in the area?” asked Lang. [Trustee Steve] Frogue opined that it is unwise to leave cops unarmed. [Trustee John] Williams, finally finding a topic he cares about, stated that it is a “travesty” to suggest not arming police officers. Apparently addressing Mr. Lang, he said, “Get real.” “Stop living in an ivory castle.” (Yes, an ivory castle.)
    [Trustee Teddi] Lorch noted that the presence of guns is a deterrent. Fortune shot back by suggesting that the worst thing that happens on our campuses is the theft of car radios (well, not quite), so the cops don’t need guns. “Even the radicals (i.e., Frogue’s racist friends and their equally polite JDL adversaries) who sometimes come to our board meetings aren’t that bad,” she said.
    At that moment, I felt Dave Lang’s pain.
    Student trustee Marie Hill noted that she has seen men removing their shirts and revealing tatoos on campus. “Gang members,” she said. So cops gotta have guns.
S&W Model 500
    Frogue explained that, if only people knew the details—details, he implied, that were suppressed by the press!—of the Lorches’* fabled encounter with violence (?), they would understand the need to arm campus cops. (Huh?) Idiotically, Lorch explained that only someone who has experienced what she experienced knows whether campus cops should have guns. “You don’t know until you’ve experienced this yourself,” she said, thereby marking the nadir of the evening.

*Teddi Lorch and her husband

Whatever happened to....
Trustee Lorch: she "retired" in 1998, to be replaced by her friend Nancy Padberg. As we reported at the time, Lorch planned to apply for the district's head HR job. That's exactly what happened. Her former trusteeship and her friendship with Padberg made it all look very bad. When she didn't get the job (Chancellor Cedric Sampson didn't want her), she sued the district for age discrimination or some such thing. Oddly, the district settled, giving Lorch the head HR job. She's still got it.
Trustee Frogue: he's the fellow who was dogged by accusations that, in his high school history classes, he often denied the Holocaust, made racially insensitive remarks, etc. Ultimately resigned (summer of 2000).
Trustee Williams: his ignominy is sufficiently fresh that it requires no review. Ultimately resigned about a year ago.
Trustee Fortune: she eventually resigned amid charges that, for some time, she had ceased living in the area she represented. (She was rumored to be living in Central Calif.)
Kathie Hodge: eventually, she continued her administrative career at the North Orange County Community College District.
P.S.: When I was first hired at IVC in 1986, I was told that a campus cop once accidentally "discharged his weapon," and the bullet went through several walls before it came to rest. No one was hurt.

Notorious O.C. political kingmaker dies (OC Reg)

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