The state Board of Education is scheduled to vote this week on a proposal to arm campus police at the state’s three public colleges. Under the proposed rule, campus presidents would have the authority to decide whether armed security is necessary on their campuses.
A key house committee has put off voting on a bill that would allow campus police to carry guns at state universities, saying lawmakers need more time to gather information.
Rhode Island is currently the only state that prohibits guns on state college police forces, although some individual schools have decided against the practice. Proponents of the bill to arm campus police say it will speed response times in an emergency, a concern that was underscored during a gun scare at the University of Rhode Island last month.
The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing this week on a bill to allow campus police to carry guns at Rhode Island state colleges and universities. The bill was filed long before a scare this month about a gunman on the University of Rhode Island Kingston campus.
Representative Joe Almeida, a Providence Democrat, turned to politics after a 20-year-career as a police officer. He filed legislation back in February to allow campus police to carry guns. He said many campus police officers are retired cops just like he is, and they’re already trained to carry a firearm.