9 police officers on campus are armed

Brad Dress & Tony Petro, Associate Editor & Reporter

Until 2014, police officers at AACC did not carry guns.

In October of that year, the campus Public Safety Department added officers trained to carry weapons. The new hybrid station—a police department with both unarmed security officers and armed police officers—changed its name to the Department of Public Safety & Police that year.

“The college administration and Board of Trustees felt that in today’s atmosphere with all the [campus] shootings, the best way to help mitigate any incident at the college was to create its own police department,” said former AACC Police Chief Gary Lyle, who noted AACC has not had shootings before. “These officers know the college much better than the average county officer.””

Police Chief Sean Kapfhammer, who has led the department since June, agreed it is “necessary to have a way to protect the campus.”
AACC was the third of the 16 Maryland community colleges to create its own police department.

Kapfhammer said AACC’s crime rate is low compared with other colleges in the state, and this could be because of the officers’ presence on campus.

Since the Police Department became a hybrid, the number of crimes on campus has declined each year, according to the Annual Security Report. In 2013, the station handled 55 calls about larceny. In 2014, when AACC’s Police Department started, larceny reports fell to 41.
“The crime rate is very low, so I think my days of kicking down doors and chasing criminals down alleys slinging my guns are in my past,” Kapfhammer said.