Cape Fear Community College officials have started a drum roll for a state operated campus police force. But what justifies this move for presumed greater “security”? It’s not because of increasing criminal activity.
Interim President Frank Sells thinks the current contract with a national security firm is inexplicably “less than adequate,” according to a Wilmington StarNews report. (link) And his assistant director of campus security apparently wants to expand his little empire for “more control.” Pres. Sells also likes the idea because it’s a “trend” at community colleges. Further, he claims that campus growth and the downtown Wilmington location puts the college in “a pretty vulnerable situation.”
True, downtown is the locus of most criminal activity in Wilmington. But, so far, the college hasn’t been a crime target or a hangout for criminals. And trendiness certainly doesn’t justify this added expense and duplication, especially at a public college.
All this talk sounds to me like another government-concocted solution looking for a problem.
CFCC currently has three levels of security readily available with private, city and county police. In addition to several J4S security officers on duty around the clock at both downtown and north campuses, the college has contracts with the Wilmington police department and county sheriffs. However, apparently Pres. Sells doesn’t think these people are qualified or trained to know “how to respond to things,” in his learned words.
Although college officials can’t say what would make up full staffing or how much a college police force would cost, the StarNews reporter writes that they have already increased parking and security fees on students and employees—I’ll bet with more to come should this scheme be carried out. Further, county taxpayers will be paying more. Overlapping services and added administrative staff; and additional who-knows-how-many well-paid officers with health insurance and pension benefits will be piled on the taxpayers—more unfunded liabilities for the future.
College trustees seem to be on-board this new spending train. But, notoriously, they rubber stamp virtually any projects suggested by administrators. State university and college officials have a long history of unaccountability to the people who pay the bills. It’s time our state legislators acted to require justification for their many wants.
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