Lawmaker introduces bill to arm officers on RIC, CCRI campuses


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — One local lawmaker is making an effort to arm police officers patrolling two of Rhode Island’s college campuses.

Rep. William O’Brien is calling for the arming of police officers on the campuses of Rhode Island College and the Community College of Rhode Island. He said as of right now, neither campus police force carries firearms.

O’Brien said the bill was created in the wake of a school shooting in Parkland Florida that killed 17 people.

“After what happened in Florida, I decided to pull this bill in,” O’Brien said.

He said this law could create an extra layer of safety at the colleges that they currently don’t have. He commends the University of Rhode Island and Brown University officers who currently carry firearms to protect the community.

“The number one responsibility is to protect the people that you serve,” O’Brien said.

In a statement to Eyewitness News a spokesperson for RIC said they are on board with the idea:

“The subject of armed officers on-campus is an important one and we applaud Representative O’Brien for bringing this matter to the forefront. Employing the best methods to keep our students safe is an ongoing discussion and evaluation among Rhode Island College’s administration and is something we will continue to assess and monitor.”

Eyewitness News also reached out to CCRI for comment on the legislation, but they have not yet responded.

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