As Compton students head back to school Monday, residents are expressing concern about a school board policy passed in July that allows campus police who pass an internal selection process to buy semi-automatic AR-15 rifles and carry them in their patrol car trunks while on duty.
“This is our objective — save lives, bottom line,” Compton Unified Police Chief William Wu told the board.
Wu argued officers are woefully underequipped in the event of a terrorist attack or mass shooting, in which shooters increasingly wear body armor, which is not penetrable with standard firearms. He cited a recent FBI study that found that roughly5 percent of mass shooters have worn such armor. Wu said that while assault-style rifles are more deadly, they’re also more accurate.
“Handguns you’d be lucky to hit accurately at 25 yards,” Wu said. “With a rifle in the hands of a trained person, you can be go 50, 100 yards accurately.”
But some community members are upset about the policy, questioning the utility of having such high-powered firearms in the hands of school police officers.
“The school police has been very notorious in the community and in reality has never had to shoot anyone before,” said Francisco Orozco, a recent Dominguez High School graduate and founder of the Compton Democratic Club. “So this escalation of weapons we feel is very unnecessary.”