Villanova Univ. to Begin Arming Campus Police

About 20 percent of the university’s public safety department is expected to be made up of sworn police officers by the beginning of next school year.

Villanova University decided to transition to an armed University Police Force on October 19.

The new police force “will have the same authority and undergo the same specialized training as those in public law enforcement” according to a letter sent by the president to the university community.

The new police force is expected to be fully operational by the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year. By then, 15 of the school’s 75-member Public Safety Department will be police officers, which means about two or three police officers will be on campus for every shift.

All public safety personnel on campus will receive conflict resolution, anti-bias and sensitivity training. An independent Oversight Committee is also going to be established, headed by Executive Vice President Ken Valosky.

RELATED: 5 Ways Campus Police Officers Differ from Traditional Police Officers

In addition, President Donohue pointed out some unique characteristics of Villanova that make it vulnerable to security issues. He said the school is highly visible, has three train stations on campus and is close to a major highway.

“This decision simply comes down to protecting our community in a time when violent acts at educational institutions are on an alarming upward trend,” Donohue said.

Donohue sent an email to alumni, parents and friends of the school announcing the decision, which was made after two years of deliberation that included community surveys, an investigative task force and a review of security best practices.

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