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RIT to arm specially trained officers in 2016

The prevalence of violence on college campuses across the country has prompted Rochester Institute of Technology to take action to ensure the safety of its community, officials announced Wednesday.

RIT Public Safety plans to deploy specially trained officers with access to firearms in an enhanced level of security beginning in 2016. The objective of the armed response is to contain an active violent threat until local law enforcement arrives at the scene.

“Violence on college campuses across the United States has tragically become all too frequent in recent years,” RIT president William Destler said. “Sadly, there have been 23 shootings on college campuses in 2015 leading to too many violent and senseless deaths.”

Firearms will not be visible to the public while the officers are on patrol, which will be around the clock throughout the year.

The decision was made by RIT leaders after research and evaluation of the benefits and risks, they said, pointing to FBI data that shows there were 120 students, faculty and staff who were victims of gun violence on college campuses from 2000 to 2013.

On Thursday, there was report of an active shooter at Arkansas State University. "The individual with a weapon has been surrounded by police. No shots have been fired, no reported injuries," the university said on its Twitter feed.

A national search will be held to hire an assistant director of public safety, who will oversee policy, procedure and training for an armed response.

(c) 2015 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.

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