BCC votes to arm its campus police - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

BCC votes to arm its campus police

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By: Alexandra Cowley

acowley@abc6.com

A vote Monday night in favor of arming campus police at Bristol Community College. Officers at two of the school's campus's could be carrying guns as early as this Spring.

BCC is the latest in a wave of colleges and universities deciding to arm its campus police. The issue has been at the forefront for many schools since the shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Students who attend Bristol Community College in Fall River and New Bedford may notice a change come Spring semester.

In a 7 to 2 vote, the Board of Trustees for BCC decided to arm its campus police. Vice President of students, Steven Ozug, says the school has been researching the idea and its own safety plan for the past year.

"On any given day, on any given occasion they don't know what they face they don't know what they might come into and that was some of what led to this decision. You never know, you never know where something can happen and if something were to happen could we as a college, could he as the president, face the public and say we did everything we possibly could to prevent this,"asked Ozug.

Many colleges and universities have considered arming campus police following the shooting massacre at Sandy Hook, and more recently, the gun scare that forced a lockdown at URI back in April.

Students at Fall River's campus are in favor of arming police.

Junior Nicole Aguair says, "with everything going around lately with campus threats and stuff, that would make me definitely feel safer."

Sophomore Jessica Paiva has a lot of night classes and says arming police would put her at ease.

"I'd feel a lot safer knowing that they were armed, if something happened they could probably protect us a lot quicker than somebody that wasn't,"said Paiva.

All U-MASS officers are armed. Brown's police have carried guns for years. URI is debating the topic now, and Rhode Island College has voted no to arming its police officers.

The next step for BCC is getting police to pass a psychological exam and firearms training.

"These are sworn police officers who's duty is to rush in and go neutralize a situation, but if that situation that they're encountering is someone with a weapon of some type, what do they have to combat that?" asked Ozug.

BCC's other campuses in Attleboro and Taunton have contracted security guards, who would not be allowed to carry guns. So from here, the Board of Trustees must decide if those campus's should have police that can carry firearms as well.

(C) WLNE-TV 2013

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