After much debate, URI campus police now carry firearms

The Providence Journal noted yesterday that the University of Rhode Island has followed through and begun arming its campus police. Lynn Arditi writes:

Twenty-six armed officers assigned to the one-square-mile campus now carry the same type of handguns issued to most municipal and state police. The university also has assigned two armed officers to its Providence campus….

“It’s not going to change the way we deal with the community,” Stephen N. Baker, URI’s director of public safety, said Friday. “It does give us that tool of last resort if there is a critical incident.”
URI had been the only public university in the country where police officers were not armed, according to a survey by a Rhode Island College police supervisor.

A survey by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics released in January found that about 75 percent of four-year colleges reported using armed police officers or security guards during the 2011-12 academic year, compared with 68 percent in 2005. Nearly all of the campuses that employed sworn police officers with full arrest powers also authorized them to use side arms, the report said.

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