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Brown University Arms its Campus Police Force With Semiautomatic Pistols

Brown University Arms its Campus Police Force With Semiautomatic Pistols 


      Brown University is arming its campus police force with semiautomatic pistols in a move intended to ensure student safety.

      “Our first responsibility must be to do all we can to assure the safety of our students, faculty and staff,” Brown President Ruth J. Simmons wrote in an e-mail last week to the campus community.

      Simmons said all officers who are armed have undergone criminal background checks and psychological testing. They have also completed 160 hours of additional training on use-of-force policies, weapons use, conflict resolution and other areas of instruction.

      Brown armed its police force, which has 33 sworn members, with semiautomatic pistols on Jan. 11. Security officers and other public safety workers at the Ivy League university will not be given weapons.

      Simmons announced in December 2003 that Brown would begin the process of arming its officers.

      Mark Porter, Brown’s police chief and director of public safety, said giving officers guns would allow them to be more proactive about crime.

      The move follows a recommendation made in a 2002 report by current Los Angeles police chief William Bratton, who advised Brown to arm its police officers.

      The report concluded Brown police officers would need to take on “additional policing roles,” such as chasing after a fleeing suspect, in order to fight campus crime more effectively.

      Brown is the first university in Rhode Island to arm its police force –

though officers at universities in other states carry weapons.

      Some have questioned the necessity of an armed police squad, especially since most crimes rates in Brown’s neighborhood have fallen in the last few years.

— Associated Press

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