North Idaho College beefs up security after guns become allowed on campus



Posted on July 7, 2014 at 5:47 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 7 at 6:49 PM

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho--You could carry a concealed weapon on college campuses in Idaho if you had a license in July. North Idaho College was dealing with the changes and it was costing them thousands of dollars.

North Idaho College officials said they had to make some changes on campus to address security concerns when the governor signed the guns on campus bill into law.    

Children attending sports summer camps at North Idaho College were seeing signs about guns as they entered the school’s gym.

"We have the responsibility to make everyone feel safe, including staff, faculty and students. We take it very seriously,” said Student Development Director Alex Harris.

The signs were in response to Senate Bill 12-54 which took effect the first week in July. Under the bill, guns were not allowed in places like sports stadiums, dorms and auditoriums. People with enhanced concealed carry permits could take guns anywhere on campus.

North Idaho College officials were against the change.

"Well, the fact is that the legislature has passed the law and we have to comply. As someone that's worked in student services for over a decade, always our first concern is the safety of students,” said Harris.

The college hired a full-time school resource officer from the Coeur d’Alene Police Department after the changes were made. That cost them around $60,000.

Harris said some students felt less safe knowing that concealed guns could be brought on campus.

"One of the things we battle is perception. And if people aren't feeling safe on our campus, a Coeur d'Alene police officer is definitely going to change that perception and make people more safe,” said Harris.

The school also spent around $10,000 on bulletproof vests and additional training for the existing security staff. The expenses came during an already tight time for the budget at North Idaho College.

"I hope seeing the officer does change the feel in that it changes it in a positive way, that it is a safer place,” said Harris.

The college was in the process of improving its campus alert system and more training for faculty and staff members in July.