U of Rhode Island to Arm Campus Police

The University of Rhode Island decided to arm its campus police following year-long discussions with faculty, students and staff.

KINGSTON, R.I. – The University of Rhode Island will move forward with its plans to arm its campus police officers, school officials announced on Monday.

The decision to arm campus police officers comes after a year-long campus discussion with faculty, students, staff and other stakeholders. Although arming has been considered over a period of years, a renewed effort to engage the campus in a broad-based discussion on arming was initiated after the Chafee Social Science Center incident last year, according to a URI press release.

“Our foremost priority is the safety and security of every member of our community and we have taken many steps over the past year to enhance campus safety,” said URI President David M. Dooley. “Campus-wide discussions have provided critical feedback. 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.”

Related Article: Arming University Police, Part 1: The Impact of Mass Shootings

All URI campus police officers are Rhode Island Municipal Police Training Academy graduates, who will be allowed to carry firearms upon successful completion of all the requirements and training.

The University’s Department of Public Safety will develop an implementation plan to outline the policies, procedures, training, and other initiatives necessary to proceed with an effective and appropriate implementation. Preparation for an armed University Police Department will include:

  • Intensive training on use-of-force policies and procedures; decision-making on firearm use in a variety of situations; and University Community Based Policing
  • Substantive training and education on multicultural competency, mental illness awareness, and impartial police training;
  • Additional psychological testing and background checks for eligible officers;
  • Development of policies for review of all situations in which a firearm is drawn, pointed or discharged;
  • Establishment of a URI Police Policy and Procedure Oversight Committee made up of faculty, staff, students and law enforcement.

“While we do not expect all members of the community to be in favor of this decision, it is time to recognize that there is no school, college or university that can consider itself immune to threats or violence. We are committed to establishing the highest level of professionalism among the already seasoned police ranks,” said Christina Valentino, vice president for administration and finance.
Prior to this decision, URI was the only public state university in the country with a police force in which officers did not carry firearms.


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