Worcester Colleges Getting Armed
Friday, July 25, 2014
Recognizing both the local and national trend of arming campus police officers, Quinsigamond ultimately decided that now was a good time to arm their officers. After bringing up the topic a variety of times in years past, this is the first time that the initiative was brought to a vote.
“We had a safety committee form after the Virginia Tech shooting and every year the topic of arming our campus police officers would come up,” said Lt. Reynaldo Rodriguez, Assistant Chief of the Quinsigamond Community College Campus Police. “Arming campus police has pretty much become the industry standard. We wanted to cover our behinds and get everything together, rather than be on the other end.”
Lt. Rodriguez believes that Quinsigamond is either the last or one of the last college campuses in Worcester to arm their campus police. In addition to Quinsigamond, Becker College, Worcester State University, Assumption College, and Clark University all confirmed that they have armed police officers.
Better Safe Than Sorry
Many of the colleges and universities in the Worcester area have sworn in police officers – which would be eligible to carry a firearm – as well as a number of staff that focus on other campus services.
At Becker College, all sworn in police officers do carry firearms in order to ensure the safety of their campus. While nothing to horrible has happened on campus yet – like a mass shooting or another tragedy – Becker College and their campus police take a proactive approach to fighting crime; having firearms is just one way to ensure that the campus is better safe than sorry.
National Attention, Local Focus
Many of the college campuses around the Worcester area recognized a potential need for armed campus police after the growing number of school shootings.
While some campuses have taken steps more recently to arm their campus police, Worcester State University is one of the local colleges and universities to create an initiative to arm their officers when the Virginia Tech shooting happened back in 2007.
“On April 16th of that year, the campus shooting at Virginia Tech took place—an incident in which 32 students and faculty died,” Carl A. Herrin, Assistant to the President for International, Community & Governmental Affairs at Worcester State University. “In the context of the times—and recognizing that Worcester State is an urban campus in New England’s second largest city—a decision to arm campus police was deemed prudent and appropriate.”
Related Slideshow: Worcester’s Most Dangerous Neighborhoods
Neighborhood search website Neighborhood Scout indexed violent and property crimes data from the Federal Bureau of Investigations to determine the crime rates on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis in Worcester. The slides below show the overall crime index (a score of 100 is best) as well as the per capita crime rates broken down by violent and property crime. The data is sourced from 2011 figures, the most recent year available from the FBI. The online resource is created by Location, Inc., a Worcester-area company that bills itself as a leader of location-based data and risk analysis information.
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