9/20/2014

"Controversial"?: University of Rhode Island finally becomes the last public university in the country to allow campus police to carry guns

This past April when the University of Rhode Island System trustees voted 8-to-1 to let campus police carry guns, you would see stories such as this:
University of Rhode Island campus police will soon carry guns under a policy announced Monday, ending the school’s status as the only public university in the country where campus police do not carry firearms. . . .
This is where we stand now:
The University of Rhode Island has begun training campus police officers to carry guns after a controversial decision in April to arm the campus police force. 
Public Safety Stephen Baker says the goal is to have all 27 campus officers carrying guns by the start of the Spring semester.  
"State police have completed 17 of the background checks and they’ve been delivered to us. The next step in that process is to have those officers go through psychological examinations," Baker said. "Then we’ll begin the actual firearms training, and that’s planned for the month of October." 
The officers participated in preliminary firearms training in August. URI has ordered and started receiving the semi-automatic handguns they will carry, which are similar to those carried by State Police. 
In addition to the gun training, URI police and some other staff have received special training to recognize and handle mental health issues. The university is also finalizing plans for an addition to its public safety facility, which will house the firearms. . . .
 If this is so controversial, why is it that every other public university system in the country has armed campus police and that none of them are reconsidering that decision?  The police here are very important, but they still have limitations.  Since the police are in uniform, they will actually be the first ones to be attacked if terrorists were ever to strike.  That is one of the benefits of permitted concealed handguns.

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