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More campus police officers to be armed

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

Two more institutions of higher learning in western Massachusetts have decided to arm campus police officers.

On Monday, Springfield College spokesperson Stephen A. Roulier said the decision to arm campus police had been in the works since at least 2011. He said the school involved student groups, faculty, staff and parents in the decision. He stated the school also hired a private consultant to look at school security.

Roulier said there was no specific event that lead to the decision, it was based on today's society.

Holyoke Community College Vice President of Administration and Finance, William Fogarty, echoed the sentiment. He said one thing heard over and over again from schools where violence had taken place was they thought it would never happen.

Administrators from both schools said they had faith in local and state police departments, but the few minutes it takes for officers to get there could mean the difference between life and death.

Greenfield Community College is also working to arm campus police. The board of trustees will decide whether to approve the proposal Wednesday.

Campus police have gone through the police academy in Massachusetts and have arresting authority, but are not currently allowed to intervene if a weapon is used on campus.

All officers were scheduled to go through hours of weapons training and background checks. If all goes according to plan, officers at all three schools should be carrying guns by the fall semester or earlier.

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