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 University of Rhode Island is moving its graduation indoors. The university said it’s for safety reasons.
URI said the recent gun scare on campus and the bombings in Boston prompted it to move the graduation ceremony into the Ryan Center. Graduating student Kelly Harris is unhappy with the move. She said students are limited to bringing two guests and that will make it harder for her friends and family to see her walk across the stage.
“This is affecting the vast majority of graduating seniors,” said Harris.
A preliminary review of the University of Rhode Island’s response to reports of a shooter on campus finds campus police were forced to wait five minutes before they could enter the building where the shooter was reportedly located. The officers, who are unarmed, had to wait for local police to arrive before they could enter the building.
The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hear testimony Wednesday on a bill that would allow Rhode Island State College Police to carry guns.
The hearing comes after a scare at the University of Rhode Island about a gunman on campus, and Rhode Island is currently the only state in the country that does not allow armed campus police at public colleges and universities. The University of Rhode Island is also expected to release its preliminary review in the coming days examining how it responded to the report of a possible shooter.
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.
Governor Chafee has proposed rewarding top state officials with pay raises. RIPR analyst Scott MacKay parses the pros and cons of the governor’s plan.
Governor Lincoln Chafee says his cabinet members have been doing a good job and deserve raises of three percent in June and another three percent in December. It’s no surprise that the governor has been roundly criticized and not just by the talk radio peanut gallery.
Governor Lincoln Chafee says he’s relieved and grateful that no one was seriously injured yesterday at the University, where a report of an active shooter on campus proved to be unfounded. The campus was on lockdown for about two-and-a-half hours.
The governor said in a statement the state will review what happened. He said the incident provides a unique opportunity to review emergency operations and how the situation was handled.
Rhode Island State Police say there is no evidence of an active shooter on the University of Rhode Island campus. The Kingston campus went on lockdown just before noon after reports of a gunman in Chafee Hall.
State Police Col. Steven O’Donnell says there are no reports of shots fired. “There’s no evidence to support there was an active shooter," said O'Donnell, "somebody thought they saw someone with a gun.”