Greenfield Comm. College to allow police to carry guns

GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s official. Police Officers at Greenfield Community College will soon be carrying guns.

22News reporter Matt Caron joins us live from our Franklin County Bureau to tell us about how students feel.

It was a unanimous vote by the Board of Trustees. 11-0. Three college police officers will be carrying guns.

The college’s Chief of Police suggested putting guns in hands of his officers back in 2006. It was a plan the college President didn’t want…until the tragedy at Sandy Hook.

“It really was the tragedy in Connecticut that really brought to my attention the fact that response time is critical,” said Greenfield Community College President Bob Pura.

The new policy will arm three police officers. A patrol officer, a Lieutenant, and the Chief with a semiautomatic handgun. The policy does not apply to the college security officers, who are contracted to watch the campus during many weekends and overnights.

“As long as you go through the proper training, they can be effective measures against violence,” said student Kieran Bourgeois.

The officers will go through 40 hours of training that includes a psychological evaluation and time at a shooting range. All in an effort to keep students safe from a gunman.

Ethan Blake a Greenfield Community College Criminal Justice Major told 22News, “Having them have a weapon the entire time, even when there is not a case of that happening, is where I get a little worried.”

College Chief of Police Bill Mayrose say’s an idea was raised to keep the guns secured in a central location. But ultimately, it defeats the purpose.

“It’s not really practical, because if I happen to be in the East Building and there’s a weapons call there. I’d have to run back to the office, get the weapon, and run back,” said Mayrose.

The college says they made the decision after months of careful research and talking with experts.

The officers will have the guns in about three to four months. They must first go through training and licensing.

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