State lawmakers have given final approval to legislation that would allow armed police forces on Connecticut's 12 community college campuses and the bill is on the way to Gov. Dannel Malloy's desk.
The bill was crafted with students, faculty and staff of community college campuses in mind, but even if it is signed into law, the question remains - will it make people here feel any safer?
“It's happened before. It could possibly happen again. Why not be ready?," Nikki Libretti, a business management student at Gateway Community College in New Haven said. “With all the unfortunate tragedies that happened in the past, it's something we need to focus on."
Libretti and others said they are ready for an armed layer of protection.
“Having an armed guard here, I assume would put a lot of people at ease," Val Gonda, a nutrition and dietetics student at Gateway said.
“The legislature is thinking about the students and just trying to have a safer community,” Francisco Caraballo, a manufacturing engineering student, said.
Under the proposal, those armed patrols would first have to be approved by the Board of Regents for Higher Education.
“This allows community colleges to establish special police forces that will be comprised of post-certified, trained police officers that will have the tools to do their job and right now they don't," Mark Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System, said. He said it all comes down to making it feel safer on community college campuses.
“I think it will help," Liz Valentin, a Gateway nursing student, said. "But it depends on the situation.”
Even if Malloy and the Board of Regents sign off on the measure, it will ultimately be up to each college to decide whether it wants armed police on its campus.