Pa. University to Arm Some Public Safety Officers

University officials say the decision was made to better prepare the campus for active shooter or other deadly force situations.

Misericordia University announced it will arm some campus security officers Feb. 20.

The decision was made by the Dallas, Pennsylvania school’s board of trustees after consulting with security officers, staff members and students, according to the Times Leader.

University officials did not reveal how many of their 16 full-time officers would be armed for safety reasons. The campus has 27 officers overall, and 21 of those officers have “previous law enforcement-related experience,” according to the school’s press release.

The officers will either have Act 235 or Act 120 state certifications, which will allow them to work as armed officers. Act 235 training is for all types of security officers while Act 120 training is required for municipal police only.

RELATED: Ga. College Security Initiative Protects Campus, City

Misericordia is the latest school in the area to arm its officers. Nearby King College, Luzerne County Community College and Wilkes University have all made similar decisions since 2013.

Although the schools’ officers will be armed, none of the public safety departments are independent campus police forces. The officers also don’t have arrest or detention powers.

“The goal is to establish an option to be utilized only in rare situations where it is absolutely necessary for the preservation of life, and to mitigate the advance of an active-shooter situation or violent person using deadly force on campus,” Misericordia President Thomas Botzman said. “Campus safety will also continue to enhance other processes that include emergency alert systems, campus-wide incident training, video surveillance, and other methods that protect both people and property. This campus must always be a safe place that fosters a culture where all are welcome.”

Read Next: UC Berkeley Protests Cause $100K in Damage on Campus

If you appreciated this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!

Leading in Turbulent Times: Effective Campus Public Safety Leadership for the 21st Century

This new webcast will discuss how campus public safety leaders can effectively incorporate Clery Act, Title IX, customer service, “helicopter” parents, emergency notification, town-gown relationships, brand management, Greek Life, student recruitment, faculty, and more into their roles and develop the necessary skills to successfully lead their departments. Register today to attend this free webcast!

Get Our Newsletters
Campus Safety Conference promo