SCRANTON — Lackawanna College will become the latest in the growing list of local institutions of higher learning to arm security personnel.
“After careful consideration, the Board of Trustees has authorized the Public Safety Department to arm its officers in an effort to preserve safety for its students, faculty, and staff at its main campus in downtown Scranton,” a release issued Friday said. It cited the college’s recent expansion and “the increasing number of incidents of active shooter situations in educational settings across the country.”
Officers are expected to start carrying firearms this fall.
In the release, college President Mark Volk called the move “the next logical step” in security, adding the decision had been deliberated “for quite some time.”
All of the college’s full-time public safety officers have state Act 120 certification and have graduated from the school’s police academy, while “the majority serve as part-time police officers with local municipalities,” the release said.
Act 120 training is required for municipal police officers in Pennsylvania, and earning it means an officer can legally carry a gun in the state. The media release also said the college will set up “ongoing firearms training and qualification certification protocol.”
Announcements of other colleges arming guards have been a nearly annual event for the last six years in the region.
Luzerne County Community College security guards began carrying guns in 2013, while Wilkes University armed its guards in June 2014 following a security review by a Vermont-based consulting firm. In July 2015, King’s College announced it would arm guards. In February 2017, Misericordia said it would begin arming at least some of its security personnel.
The University of Scranton is the only higher education institution in the region with a full university police force.
Reach Mark Guydish at 570-991-6112 or on Twitter @TLMarkGuydish