Armed security at state community colleges approved by Board of - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Armed security at state community colleges approved by Board of Regents

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(WFSB file photo) (WFSB file photo)

Following a stream of mass shootings, the Connecticut Board of Regents unanimously approved a motion on Thursday that would grant security the ability to carry guns.

Community colleges in Connecticut are currently weapons-free and the measure needs to be approved by the state legislature, then by each campus.

The board went into an executive session on Thursday morning and came back with the unanimous vote in favor of the measure.

State four-year schools already allow certain security staffers to carry guns.

Campuses such as Eastern, Western, Southern and Central Connecticut state all have armed police forces.  And that's the model that could be implemented in the community colleges.

“I think the goal is to have some consistency across the whole system that has the adequate training and the adequate personnel to provide safety to our students,” CSCU President Mark Ojakian said.

If passed, each security staffer would need to be certified through police officers standard training.

“It's not automatically transitioning contracted security guards to be special police officers,” Ojakian said.  

Eyewitness News spoke with a student who went to Northwestern Community College and now attends Central Connecticut State University. He said that the measure may or may not affect the culture on smaller college campuses.

"I don't think armed security would have made my experience at Northwestern any safer," said Ed Corey, a CCSU senior. "I wouldn't have felt any safer or less safe with them around. I think it would have been exactly the same; but, I definitely think it's a conversation worth having in light of all the dangerous things happening around the country."

If they approve it, then each school will decide on how to proceed. After all the training, it could be more than a year before a community college sees any changes.

The system has 53,000 students enrolled.

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