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FLCC Moves To Arm Security Officers

Finger Lakes Community College is arming its peace officers, but not all students like the idea.
Finger Lakes Community College is arming its peace officers, but not all students like the idea. 

School officials say without guns, peace officers would have to wait for sheriff deputies or police to arrive in a dangerous situation. The added response time could cost lives. But many students say they feel safe and do not think there is a need for peace officers to carry guns.

"I have mixed feelings about that because we've seen a lot of police brutality in the nation lately," Lindsay Kuhn said.

"It's kind of surprising. I don't know if it's completely necessary," Matt Guinan said.

Like it or not, it will be the new normal at FLCC. Peace officers will be armed with 40 caliber Smith & Wesson handguns this fall. 

"Folks are expecting that we're going to be able to respond to something and take care of it as soon as possible. That's an expectation that we want to meet. The time to realize isn't after something happens," FLCC campus safety director Jason Maitland said.

FLCC peace officers already undergo 60 hours of arms training at the Finger Lakes Law Enforcement Academy. That is more than the 40 hours required by the state. Still, 24 additional hours of training will be done before peace officers get guns this fall. 

"Judgmental shooting is a big part of that, weapon retention; just variations of the firearms training that they have already had," Maitland said.

FLCC says 82 percent of four year public colleges of similar size have armed officers. The college has a low crime rate, but points to recent campus shootings as the reason for arming officers.

"Very few peole understand this building and the people who are in it better than our officers do. They're here every day. They known how the doors work, they know how to get from point A to point B as fast as possible," he said.

"When you call 911, you hope that they're going to be here splitty quick, but sometimes they're not. So I'm thinking having someone with a gun on property if there is something that bad going on I think is helpful," Melissa Schroeder said.

This is already a done deal. The college's president has already signed off on it. The Board of Trustees is expected to approve the measure Wednesday as a formality. 

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