Framingham State University’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously on May 15 to arm the school’s police force, according to an article from the MetroWest Daily News.
Calling it an unfortunate but necessary response to the growing threat of campus shootings, the campus police will receive firearms, but some board members called for close monitoring throughout the first year of implementation.
“There’s a compelling case for arming,” said board Chairman Raymond Boulanger. “I wish it weren’t necessary. But I think in this world, we have to plan for the worst.”
Board members stated that they are impressed by the campus police’s recently attained state accreditation and expressed confidence in the officers’ abilities to carry guns, the article said.
This decision comes at the end of a 27-step list of best practices produced during the summer of 2008 in order to better secure the school against shootings. Twenty-five practices have already been fully implemented.
The main argument to arm police has been that campus officers will be better able to save lives in the event of a campus shooting if they don’t have to wait for armed police from the town to arrive, the article says.
Proponents say that the officers themselves will be better protected if they carry guns; Boulanger said he was uncomfortable, for example, sending police into potentially dangerous situations armed “with no more than pepper spray.”
Some were concerned over the reactions of students and faculty, as well as the potential for litigation in the event of a police shooting, the article says. As such, many of the board members said they would like the subject to be discussed at all trustee meetings over the next year, holding an extensive review of the implementation of guns next May.
Police Chief Brad Medeiros has no problem with that suggestion, the MetroWest Daily News reports.
“It’s been a long process,” he said. “We have a very professional police department, and that’s something we’ll strive to maintain.”
The Massachusetts school, located 20 miles from Boston, has fewer than 6,000 students.