MANCHESTER CT Jan 20 2017— Campus police officers at Manchester Community College will begin carrying firearms “immediately” after receiving approval today from the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities.
The authorization follows the decision of the Board of Regents for Higher Education in October to allow the state’s 12 community colleges to train and arm campus police.
After that vote, MCC had submitted an extensive proposal to CSCU outlining its training requirements, force and shooter policies, and campus police procedures, Maribel La Luz, CSCU’s director of communications, said.
MCC’s proposal was sufficient, CSCU President Mark Ojakian said today, adding that it shows the school is equipped to “maintain a safe campus environment.”
“Having armed security is an option for our community college campuses driven by their expressed desire to feel safe,” Ojakian said. “It is up to each campus community if they wish to go that route.”
The Board of Regents endorsed allowing community college officers to carry guns in December 2015. In May, the General Assembly voted to allow CSCU to set training standards through Police Officers Standards Training, or POST.
The majority of MCC officers have received POST certification. Today’s approval designates them as a special police force, MCC officials said.
“We are fully supportive of the tools our police force needs to ensure the safety of our campus,” MCC President Gina Glickman said. “The security of our students, staff, faculty, and visitors is our priority.”
Michael Jordan-Reilly, MCC’s director of public relations, said the faculty and students favor arming on-campus police officers.
In 2013, the school was locked down for six hours after a student reported seeing a man with a gun in his waistband. No gunman was found, and a Manchester police officer was accidentally shot during the search.
All state universities employ armed police officers, including the University of Connecticut, Eastern, Southern, Central, and Western Connecticut State University.
Capital and Gateway Community Colleges, in Hartford and New Haven, respectively, will likely be approved soon to arm campus police, CSCU officials said.