NANTICOKE -- Luzerne County Community College trustees on Tuesday put the finishing touches on a policy that will allow campus security officers to carry guns.
Receiving unanimous approval at Tuesday's board meeting, the action arrives only four days after the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., that left 26 dead made school administrators nationwide question their own schools' security.
Director of Campus Safety and Security Bill Barrett called the Newtown school shooting an unfortunate coincidence and said his department has been working with departments on and off campus for the better part of a year to iron out the policy.
Barrett said now the department will begin training and purchasing procedures to arm security officers at all of the campus locations where school employees oversee security.
He said he expects security employees to be armed by spring.
We want to do this correctly and as efficiently as possible. … We don't want to rush implementation, Barrett said.
According to the policy, gun-carrying employees must receive local municipal police officer training.
They may carry only college-issued guns.
The policy provides that only security officers may carry guns and prohibits anyone else from bringing firearms or other weapons on the campus, superseding any permits to carry for personal protection.
The school has 11 security employees at its Nanticoke campus, and Barrett said about half of them already meet the standards.
He said hiring requirements have been changed to mandate that new hires are qualified before beginning employment.