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Guns on RI Campuses. Who is Armed?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

 

Just one day after the University of Rhode Island announced plans to arm campus police, RIC and CCRI said they will not do the same.

“Rhode Island College has no plans to arm its campus police at this time,” said Laura Hart, Director of College Communications and Marketing at Rhode Island College.

“The decision to arm or not to arm campus police involves factors unique to each institution of higher education.”

Kristen Cyr, Public Relations Officer in the Marketing and Communications Department at the Community College of Rhode Island, said “CCRI has no plans to arm its Campus Police.”

URI will issue firearms to its police force next year. All the officers are already graduates of the state police academy. However, before guns are issued in 2015, each member will undergo extra psychological testing and background checks.

State Police support

“I’ve always supported arming campus police. As long as they are properly trained from a certified trained body,” said Colonel Steven G. O'Donnell of the Rhode Island State Police.

“Each college campus president has made their own decision. I understand a college or university’s thought process is much different than law enforcement. All the attention from shootings on campuses around the country has created this dialogue. An [unarmed] policeman is at much greater risk if somebody is creating an act of carnage. All these shootings are done in a matter of minutes. [Armed officers] might be able to stop that threat before the body count goes up.”

Off campus perspective

East Providence Police Lieutenant Armen Garo is a senior shift commander in the city’s patrol division with 29 years on the job. He said many campus police officers are retired police officers or former police officers from other jurisdictions.

“I know many of them and they definitely feel that they should be armed. It's clear in our society that there is a need for security on campus to be able to protect everyone that lives and works there. Nothing should be left to chance,” Garo said.

“The American college campuses are very special places. They are the training centers for our leaders of tomorrow. They are the laboratories where essential inventive experiments are being conducted designed to improve our quality of life. They are too special to leave unprotected without doing everything possible to maintain tranquility there.”

Garo said police work on a college campus is different than that in the outside world. The basic training is the same, but the expectations placed on officers are unique to each campus.

“Campus security police officers usually are burdened with balancing the needs of students, the faculty, the campus administration and the families of the students. That isn't an easy job. Especially when so much of the student body has just recently come into adulthood. I'm sure additional training with a higher degree of emphasis on balancing those needs would be advantageous.”

Garo said URI made the right decision, one that he believes other schools are likely to follow.

“I think Rhode Island College and CCRI eventually will very likely head in the same direction. It's a proactive move that benefits the student body, the parents, the faculty, the administration, and the rest of the citizens of the state.”

Mayoral candidates weigh in

"I grew up in a neighborhood where I learned first-hand that nothing else matters unless people feel safe. As Mayor, my priority will always be to maximize the safety of our entire community,” said Providence Mayoral candidate Jorge Elorza.

“Any decision made about arming campus police needs to be made collaboratively and considered alongside a comprehensive vision for public safety that includes building trust between the police and the community, addressing the very conditions that give rise to crime in the first place, and most importantly, placing the voices of our students and our neighbors at the forefront of the decision-making process."

Providence Mayoral Candidate Brett Smiley said the primary responsibility of campus police officers is to ensure the safety of all students, staff and faculty.

“In some cases, arming these officers allows them to do their job more effectively. Of course, any decision to arm a campus police force must also be accompanied by extensive training in weapons use and clear use-of-force policies,” Smiley said.

“Each campus has unique public safety challenges, and the schools themselves have the best grasp on what needs to be done to protect their students. Decisions about arming campus police forces should be left to the school administrations on a case-by-case basis rather than dictated by a statewide policy."

Dan Harrop, MD, the lone GOP Candidate for Mayor of Providence, reflected on his faculty time at Brown University.

“A campus officer was killed many years ago after being assaulted by a non-student intruder, the officers are armed, but they also go through training at the police academy – so essentially have the same training as the regular Providence police. Private colleges should have the right to do as they want, either way,” he said.

“As for state schools – CCRI, URI, RIC – yes, it would seem, in this day and age, that the campus police, having taken the same training as city/town police get, should be armed.”

Candidate Lorne Adrain said each campus in Providence has a unique set of circumstances that must be considered instead of a one-size-fits-all policy.

“For example, URI, Rhode Island College and CCRI’s downtown campus all have different proximity to local police resources. In that context, I believe it is appropriate for college and university leadership, and city and state officials to work together to make the best decision for each campus," Adrain said.
  

 

Related Slideshow: The Influence of Gun Money in New England States

New Data from The Sunlight Foundation shows state-by-state breakdowns for donations to groups on both sides of the gun debate. The money went toward candidates, political parties, and political action committees (PACs), but doesn't include donations to independent or so-called “super PACs”.

 

See how much money went to candidates in each of the New England States in the slides below.

Prev Next

Rhode Island

State Candidates

Control $: 0

Rights $: 229650

Federal Candidates

Control $: 19557

Rights $: 5612

Prev Next

Massachusetts

State Candidates

Control $: 2850

Rights $: 20538

Federal Candidates

Control $: 54058

Rights $: 104579

Prev Next

Maine

State Candidates

Control $: 8325

Rights $: 51700

Federal Candidates

Control $: 27318

Rights $: 142505

Prev Next

Connecticut

State Candidates

Control $: 4076

Rights $: 56200

Federal Candidates

Control $: 43666

Rights $: 121596

Prev Next

Vermont

State Candidates

Control $: 0

Rights $: 40330

Federal Candidates

Control $: 4500

Rights $: 7550

Prev Next

New Hampshire

State Candidates

Control $: 1500

Rights $: 22475

Federal Candidates

Control $: 34337

Rights $: 293560

 
 

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Comments:

It will surprise no one that their will be ZERO incidents at URI going forward, and the possibility of an incident happening at RIC or CCRI has just increased exponentially.

Comment #1 by Silence Dogood on 2014 04 16

The worst thing a school could do is advertise that the campus is a 'gun free' zone.

Comment #2 by joe pregiato on 2014 04 16

East Providence Police Lieutenant Armen Garo is a senior shift commander in the city’s patrol division with 29 years on the job. He said many campus police officers are retired police officers or former police officers from other jurisdictions.

If their so infirm that they need to retire at 50-55 how can they go and do the same job for another jurisdiction while collecting a pension. This is such a fraud. Let the pensions kick in at the same time as social security.

Comment #3 by Redd Ratt on 2014 04 16

Kudos to URI President David Dooley for doing "whatever-it-takes" to protect URI students.
President Nancy Carriullo of RIC needs to set aside personal anti-gun sentiments. Do the "right" thing.
Ray (big spender) DiPasquale of CCRI should fold up his tent and retire... A 9.6% graduation rate OMG, and security at the two campuses is virtually non-existent.

Comment #4 by Kevin Healey on 2014 04 16

President Dooley made a carefully thought-out and correct decision. Colleges and universities are microcosms of our society; they are towns and cities in and of themselves. To assume that the many problems we face in society(including violence)won't affect campuses is naive. Campus police officers need to be able to protect themselves as well as the campuses they serve.

Comment #5 by Bob Beagle on 2014 04 16

Quite frankly, I would not send my kids to a college in a city wherein the police were not armed. There are two words to describe an unarmed police officer: witness and/or victim.

Comment #6 by Dave Barry on 2014 04 16

And I agree with the other comments about security at CCRI. They won't even install cameras. My kids car was broken into and vandalized. When I asked about what was on the video, the campus cop laughed. We ain't got no stinkin video!
But yet they charge you a parking lot usage fee.

Comment #7 by Dave Barry on 2014 04 16

Founded in 1892 for 122 years URI was not armed camp. The cost to buy the guns, train the officers and pay the settlements when, NOT IF, BUT WHEN someone is injured or killed by one of the college owned guns, will added to the kids tuition. Members of Rhode Island's illustrious Bar Association are at work right now, preparing for the eventual law suits

Comment #8 by Sammy Arizona on 2014 04 16

Sammy, that's so ridiculous you don't even believe it. Lots of schools have armed police and their is no problems with it.

Comment #9 by Redd Ratt on 2014 04 16

The folks at URI could have waited till May 4 to make their announcement the Anniversary of the Kent State University shootings (aka the May 4 massacre) involved the shooting of 13 UNARMED college students , killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis Some of the students were protesting against the war. Other students who were shot had been peacefully walking nearby or just observing the protest from a distance.
Lawyers for the victims and the State were the only winners in this tragedy

Comment #10 by Sammy Arizona on 2014 04 16

Sammy, the Kent State students were shot by the Ohio National Guard. News flash, The Rhode Island National Guard is also armed.

Comment #11 by Redd Ratt on 2014 04 17

Prior to the 1957 firearms laws, anyone in RI could carry a pistol openly or concealed. Crime was rare.

In the South and western states as well as New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont, many people are armed. Some carry concealed, come carry openly. Some are not armed. But many are. Big deal. Those states enjoy low rates of crime because criminals do not prey on people who can defend themselves.

College campuses are as any other locale, frequented largely by law abiding people going about their business, infested with a small group of criminals who seek out weak, undefended targets.

School shootings were rare until the Clintons came along with their 'gun free zones', i.e., let's paint a bullseye on every school and stick a sign out front which says, 'come 'n' git 'em'.

URI is now known as a place in which committing crimes can be dangerous to the perp, while other colleges unfortunately may become magnets for criminals displaced by the URI decision to arm police officers.

Criminals go for the easy hits. Disarmed citizens are easy hits.

Comment #12 by paul zecchino on 2014 04 17

The irony has been well reported for years: until this recent decision to arm them, URI cops who could not carry on duty nonetheless by virtue of being police officers could carry off duty anywhere. The federal law passed during the late 2000's allows active and retired police officers to carry anywhere in the country; except at college campuses on duty.

Don't think for one second that criminals have missed that opening.

Comment #13 by paul zecchino on 2014 04 17

Sammy has to go back over 40 years to find an incident where authorities used excessive force on a college campus. No surprise he does mention the multiple fatal shootings at the University of Texas, University of Arizona, Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois University, University of Central Arkansas, University of Alabama in Huntsville, and the list goes on. Way to keep it relevant Sammy.

Comment #14 by Max Diesel on 2014 04 17

President Dooley should be commended for taking action before tragedy happens. Apparently, he is willing to spend money for training and equipment in the name of safety. As for the other state schools, good luck. No campus is immune, even though they've been lucky so far. Let's hope the decision to say NO doesn't come back to haunt you.

Comment #15 by Ellen Stephens on 2014 04 17

Rep Jim Langevin has been unable to walk since 1980, when, at the age of 16, he was seriously injured in an accidental shooting. He had been working as a volunteer at the Warwick Police Department when a weapon accidentally discharged, leaving him a quadriplegic

This could never happen at URI ..because ?

Comment #16 by Sammy Arizona on 2014 04 17

Sammy-why not peddle you crap in Arizona?If you have ever been there,that is.
The officers at RIC are almost all retired from other LE jobs and have permits as is,so why shouldn't they be armed?
Unarmed campus police at Virginia Tech were unable to respond to an active shooter and 35 people died.
As far as I know,there is no law against someone carrying a concealed firearm on a college campus in RI now if they have a proper permit.
There was a shooting incident at RIC some years ago where a girl brought a handgun to a school dance and wounded an unintended victim while shooting at a love rival.
There is no barrier between college campuses and society at large and thus a necessity for armed police.
Sammy is an idiot.

Comment #17 by Joseph Bernstein on 2014 04 17

Sammy -

Thank you for nicely illustrating why support for 'gun control' continues to plummet.

Comment #18 by paul zecchino on 2014 04 18




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