Rhode Island colleges disagree on arming campus police

January 9, 2020 GMT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Two of Rhode Island’s public colleges have found themselves at odds over the idea of arming campus police officers.

The University of Rhode Island and Community College of Rhode Island submitted reports Tuesday on their recommendations for arming school police, the Providence Journal reported.

The University of Rhode Island, which armed its officers in May 2015 following a campus-wide scare, said it remains a smart decision. The Community College of Rhode Island cited costs as one factor against taking the step to arm school police.

The two schools sent in their recommendations to Rep. William W. O’Brien, of North Providence, on Tuesday. O’Brien successfully sponsored a bill last year that required the state’s three public colleges to also provide recommendations.

In her letter to O’Brien, CCRI President Meghan Hughes wrote that “the college continues to believe that arming campus police with lethal force is not necessary to ensure the safety of our college community.”

The community college said that its campuses experience low levels of crime, especially violent crime but regardless have continued to train its officers in “non-lethal” force and provided training in response to an active-shooter situation.