Loyola Considers Arming Campus Cops With Tasers
ROGERS PARK — Loyola University is considering arming its campus police and security officers with stun guns, officials said.
The university's campus safety department is in the "infancy stages" of requesting approval from Loyola's administration to buy as many as 20 stun guns, according to campus police officer Tim Cunningham.
Cunningham, who acts as a student liaison for the department, said several incidents where officers, including himself, had been hurt on the Water Tower and Lake Shore campuses could have been diffused with a stun gun.
"I ended up in the emergency room from a person I could have tased early on," he said at a meeting with Loyola's student government.
In October, a Loyola freshman stripped naked in a university dorm and tackled another student, breaking her collarbone.
Cunningham said it took several officers to restrain the student, who was bleeding profusely.
The university employs 48 officers who patrol two blocks into the neighborhoods surrounding its campuses, he said. At least one on-duty officer on each campus would be carrying a stun gun under the current proposal.
Although the proposal must be approved by the school's trustees, campus safety director Bob Fine and his officers have been testing student sentiment in a series of meetings on campus. In recent years, use of the weapons has sparked controversy on other college campuses.
So far, Cunningham said, students had expressed a "full range of emotion" about the proposal.
Phillip-John Puzzo, a sophomore at Loyola and a member of the student government, said there are a "minority of students who are avidly against it and a minority avidly for it" — and "a good amount of students that don't care."
Cunningham said officers carrying stun guns would be trained and certified.
The stun guns also would be equipped with an accessory to record audio and video, he said.
"From my own experience," he said, "the person you interact with at three in the morning, kicking and screaming, is not the same person" who shows up at court.
Puzzo said stun guns had "a stigma on college campuses."
Much of that stigma can be attributed to the use of a stun gun at the University of Florida in 2007, when student Andrew Meyer was zapped by campus police for resisting arrest, despite his plea: "Don't tase me, bro!"
A video of the incident went viral.
Fine, the director of campus safety for nine years, said this is the first time the university had proposed to use stun guns on its Chicago campuses.
Officers at Loyola's medical campus, in Maywood, already carry stun guns, Cunningham said.
Few colleges in the city, however, allow their officers to carry stun guns.
The University of Chicago, Northwestern University and DePaul University don't allow them, DNAinfo.com Chicago confirmed.