Cal State Fullerton University Police Chief, Raymund Aguirre, and K-9 handler, Officer Matt Bauer, attended the Associated Students Board of Directors’ meeting on Tuesday to deliver a summary of their services and procedures on campus. Bauer brought along his K-9 counterpart, two-year-old black labrador Glock.
Bauer said that while Glock is the only K-9 unit on campus, there are other units spread out throughout the CSUs.
“We have currently nine dogs in the CSU system that are primarily explosive detection K-9s,” Bauer said. “We’re not just primarily stationed here at the University Police department, but we go all throughout the CSU campuses and help each other out.”
Explosive detection dogs, such as Glock, are trained to detect a number of odors. Most dogs are able to detect up to six, but Glock is able to detect 26, according to Bauer.
The K-9 unit is not the only service provided by campus police. University Police officers are trained to deal with a variety of situations, including:
- Mental illness
- Pedestrian safety
- Domestic violence
- Sexual assault
A main concern for ASI members was how University Police handles de-escalation and the potential use of force when encountering situations with people that have a mental illness.
Aguirre said that police officers are required to attend training every year to prepare them for these types of situations.
“There is a mandate for all of us in the state of California to receive mental health training every year,” Aguirre said. “One situation involving someone with a mental health issue may not be the same for another individual, so we have to take in mind the people we hire as police officers.”
The training for California officers is a full-day, hands-on course involving lectures and role-playing scenarios.
Aguirre said that in the past year, there have not been many incidents where officers have had to engage in force to de-escalate a situation.
“I can confidently say less than the total number of fingers on my hands,” Aguirre said. “We have not had to use a great deal of force in any of our cases. I only remember once, and it was a combative person who was resisting officers.”
While the use of force may be necessary in certain situations, the Students for Quality Education, an organization advocating for educational rights in public higher education, is involved in “No Harm, disarm,” a statewide campaign calling to disarm university police officers.
Liz Sanchez, a member of the organization said there needs to be another alternative to how police handle situations.
“We don’t want them to use force. We believe in reformative justice and that’s actually a part of our demands,” Sanchez said. “We want to make sure that they’re using tactics that are not violent.”
Aguirre said that it’s important for students to trust the police in order to maintain a safe campus.
“One of the things we value is the partnership with the campus community. If we don’t have your trust, then we can’t provide the safety and level of protection that all of you deserve from us,” Aguirre said.