KINGSTON- The University of Rhode Island Memorial Union Ballroom was filled with concerned students, faculty and residents during the public forum regarding the arming of campus police on Monday.
URI has held several public forums since May regarding this controversial issue. The purpose of the forums is to inform and discuss the issues related to arming campus police. The debate began after the report of a gunman in Chafee Hall spurred a campus-wide lockdown last April. Even though the campus police were the first responders, many argue that if the incident were real, they would not have been able to protect the students. The manner in which the building was evacuated and how the emergency was handled proved to be a valuable test of the university’s emergency response.
As part of the emergency response assessment, members of the university suggested that arming campus police could improve the capabilities of the URI police as first responders to life-threatening emergency situations.
“Our foremost priority is the safety and security of each and every member of our community,” said URI President David Dooley in a letter addressed to the URI community. “While the police investigation concluded this incident was never a threat to public safety, there was a significant value in testing the university’s emergency preparedness, response and communications.”
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