N.Y. University to Arm Officers Working at Medical Center

The announcement largely follows a recommendation from a security commission last month.

The University of Rochester president announced plans to arm public safety officers that work predominantly in the school’s medical center Oct. 13.

President Joel Seligman says the decision was made after consulting with university community members who said they don’t feel safe in the emergency department and other areas of the medical center.

Campus Safety had previously reported on a commission’s recommendation to arm public safety officers in the medical center. After receiving that report, President Seligman said he would get input from the university before making his final decision.

Seligman says arming officers will deter people from attempting to bring weapons into the medical facility.

“Guns unfortunately have had to be selected because of the effectiveness of the deterrent,” Seligman told whec.com. “It’s not the use of the guns, that’s the last thing we want to do, but it’s to prevent others from using weapons and try to make the sense of safety as great a reality at the University of Rochester as we can.”

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Seligman added that the school has confiscated an average of 230 knives, eight guns and 33 other weapons each year between 2013 and 2015.

The school will arm a total of 42 public safety officers. Thirty eight of those officers will work predominantly in the medical center and the other four are senior officers, including the chief and deputy chief of the department.

Seligman says an incident last year, when two students were forcibly abducted on campus and later rescued by a SWAT team, also factored into his decision.

“We do believe that the campus is very safe, but the kidnapping of two of our students last December was a very important wake up call,” Seligman says.

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