Georgetown University student newspaper The Hoya is reporting that on April 13 about 20 students presented University President John J. DeGioia with a letter asking for the Georgetown University Police Department to equip its officers with firearms.
The group, GU Advocates for Responsible Defense (GUARD), recommends that armed Metropolitan Police Department officers patrol campus temporarily, while Georgetown University Police Department (GUPD) officers undergo firearms training.
GUPD officers currently carry pepper spray and batons.
“We don’t want just another review that ends in no action,” T.J. Collins (COL ’18), a leader for the group, said in an interview with The Hoya. “We want immediate resolve from President DeGioia. As a first step, we would like DeGioia to work with Metro PD in order to place armed security on campus. Second, we want him to give Chief Gruber the authority to train and equip his officers with firearms. We need armed security today.”
The administration is reviewing the letter according to Rachel Pugh, Georgetown’s senior director for strategic communications. “Our top priority is the safety and security of our community and we are constantly working to prevent violence and ensure the security of our community,” Pugh wrote in an email to The Hoya.
In the letter sent to DeGioia and GUPD Chief Jay Gruber, Collins and fellow student Amelia Irvine said the recent shootings in Parkland, Fla. and Great Mills, Md. inspired them to call for immediate action by the administration. At the Maryland shooting, an armed school resource officer, Blaine Gaskill, responded to the attack, firing back but not firing the shot that killed the shooter.
“The tragic shooting in Maryland proved the wisdom in having capable law enforcement protection in schools,” Collins and Irvine wrote in the letter. “The heroism of Officer Gaskill saved lives, as did the school’s policy to employ an armed school resource officer. Because of Officer Gaskill’s presence inside the school, he was able to respond to the shooter in less than a minute. At Georgetown, campus police have no means of stopping a similar shooting."