Small colleges count on local cops to handle biggest issues

Dec 9, 2012 The Associated Press

CHEYENNE (AP) -- When a Casper College instructor was killed in front of his class, there wasn't much campus security could have done to stop the attacker. He struck quickly and was armed with a compound bow and knives.

Few public places are immune from such violence. But experts said small colleges such as Casper, where security guards are unarmed, are just as prepared to respond to violence as large universities that have their own armed police forces.

They said that's due to good cooperation with police and to the rarity of violent crime on campuses.

Alison Kiss of the Clery Center for Security on Campus, which helps colleges and universities deal with security, said being proactive through training and emergency planning is the best defense for any college.

"Generally, what we see is that they've developed a really great working relationship with their local law enforcement," she said.

The American Association of Community Colleges said there were about 1,130 community colleges in the U.S. in 2009 with some 13 million students, or about 44 percent of all undergraduate students in the nation.

Community colleges are attractive to some students because they offer a more affordable option to universities and help provide trained workers for businesses.

U.S. Education Department statistics indicate that two-year campuses see less serious crime than four-year colleges. From 2007 to 2009, there were 59 murders reported on four-year, public college campuses, and only four on two-year sites.

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