New School Year In Compton, Calif. Brings Campus Police With AR-15 Rifles

The city of Compton is predominately Latino. Hispanics make up some 65 percent of the community, followed by African-Americans, who are about 33 percent.

As a national debate takes hold – on the heels of clashes in Ferguson, Missouri between minorities and police there – about the scale of weaponry that local law enforcement authorities should reasonably possess, a parallel discussion is happening in Compton, California.

Compton’s debate centers on a new presence on city school properties this academic year – AR-15 semiautomatic rifles.

School board officials this summer approved a policy that allows school police who pass a screening to carry AR-15 rifles in their patrol cars during the time they are working, according to KPCC, a Southern California public radio station.

“This is our objective—save lives, bottom line,” Compton Unified Police Chief William Wu told the board, according to KPCC.

Critics of the policy call it excessive. They say there is no justification for police providing security around schools to carry high-powered weapons.

“The school police has been very notorious in the community and in reality has never had to shoot anyone before,” said Francisco Orozco, described by KPCC as a recent Dominguez High School graduate and founder of the Compton Democratic Club. “So this escalation of weapons we feel is very unnecessary.”


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