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."
University of Rhode Island officials have announced they plan to arm campus police, despite vocal critics, who say the change will not make campus safer.
The university announced the decision after a year of public meetings and discussions with faculty, students and staff. In a statement, URI President David Dooley called the change critical.
"In order to provide the safest environment possible and to ensure a timely response to any threat to the safety of our campuses, our police officers must be equipped properly to function as first responders,” Dooley said.
Rhode Island College has decided against arming its campus police force. In an email, RIC President Nancy Carriuolo said a campus survey showed the college community about equally divided on the issue, though she stressed the vast majority did not respond to the survey.
Carriuolo said she made the decision after discussions with campus police and her cabinet.
Standardized testing is underway in Rhode Island public schools, where students take the New England Common Assessment Program or NECAP every October. The tests of math and reading are administered to grades 3-8 and 11 between October 1st and the 23rd. This year some 4,000 12th graders are also taking the test and must improve their scores to meet the state’s controversial new test-based graduation requirement.
The Rhode Island School of Design in Providence has named Carol Strohecker as the new Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. Strohecker comes from a position as Director of the University of North Carolina’s multi-campus Center for Design Innovation, according to RISD officials.
Rhode Island has lifted a ban on armed police forces at state colleges, after a Board of Education vote last night. The board’s new policy allows each state institution to make the decision about whether campus police officers will carry guns.
State colleges and universities in Rhode Island can now arm campus police after a vote Thursday night at the State Board of Education. Critics said more guns on campus will not make students safer, but supporters, including University of Rhode Island President David Dooley, said campus police should carry guns to do their jobs more effectively.
Dooley said he believes arming police is logical decision for URI.
There’s a meaty agenda on tap this week at the State Board of Education. The group is scheduled to vote Thursday on a controversial proposal to allow police to carry guns on state college campuses. The board is also scheduled to vote on adopting new science standards and consider a contract extension for Education Commissioner Deborah Gist.
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.