Arming Campus Police in Rhode Island

May 20, 2013

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.

Rhode Island is the only state in the country that does not permit its public college police to be armed.  Eva Marie Mancuso, chair of the state Board of Education, thinks that needs to change. She supports a rule that the Board will vote on Thursday that would allow college presidents to decide if they want to arm their police forces. Mancuso says it’s a necessary precaution in these times of mass shootings.

"What’s happening in the world has some effect on what’s happening on college campuses and the needs change over the years. And I certainly think that we are long overdue for having our police officers have all of the tools available to them to prevent crime and also to respond to crime."

Mancuso says she’s glad a bill that would require the arming of campus security officers is stalled in a legislative committee.

She believes the decision should be left to university officials.

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