The University of California is bolstering its police department with a SWAT team, a move reflecting the type of crime scaling the walls of academia these days.
The High-risk Entry Team makes UC-Berkeley one of a handful of universities to invest in one of the elite squads."I'm sorry that we have to have things like that, but we have crime, we have rape, we have incidents, we have deranged people, we have muggings," said C. Peter Magrath, president of the National Association of State Universities and Land-grant Colleges.
School officials decided to invest in the added firepower after a number of violent incidents, said UC-Berkeley Police Sgt. Adan Tejada, who coordinates the new team.
In 1990, a mentally disturbed gunman killed a student and held 33 other people hostage for seven hours at a bar near campus. The standoff ended when city police stormed the bar, killing the man.
In 1991, a protest at university-owned "People's Park" turned violent and in 1992 park activist Rosebud Denovo, armed with a machete, broke into the home of Berkeley's chancellor. The chancellor and his wife escaped and Denovo was fatally shot by an officer from the Oakland department, which had been called in to assist.
The university's team began training last December with a start-up cost of about $10,000, Tejada said.
Other universities with SWAT teams include Ohio State University, the University of Illinois and UC-Davis, about 60 miles east of Berkeley.
"It is obviously the kind of response that universities that are in urban settings and highly populated areas have to think about. They're small cities in many ways," Magrath said.
Schools with SWAT teams don't have to depend on local police, said Rex Rakow, president of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.