Following news that Highline College in Des Moines was placed on lockdown Friday morning after reports of gunfire on campus, state Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver, is calling on Democratic leaders in the Senate to bring Senate Bill 6119 forward and pass it this session. Wilson’s bill gives Washington’s community and technical colleges the option to establish a police force on their campuses, as is already allowed for four-year institutions and all common schools.
“Washington currently allows our public colleges and schools to have a police force on their campuses, but the law doesn’t permit community and technical colleges that same level of protection on their campuses,” said Wilson. “This makes no sense. In light of the lockdown at Highline this morning, we need to pass my campus security bill without delay.”
Wilson’s proposal, which is supported by community and technical college presidents, was denied a public hearing in the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee this session by the committee chair, Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island.
“Thankfully this incident turned out to be a false alarm, but when seconds count, we can’t afford to wait for local law enforcement to respond,” said Wilson. “Our students deserve the same level of protection regardless of what public school they attend. An on-campus police officer trained in active shooter situations can immediately assess and respond without hesitation.”
The 2018 legislative session is scheduled to end March 8.