WXXI AM News

University of Rochester will not be adding armed officers to campuses

Apr 23, 2019

Credit University of Rochester

The University of Rochester will not be increasing the number of armed officers on its campuses.

But they will be giving armed UR Department of Public Safety supervisors unrestricted access to all parts of campus. 

That announcement comes after a review of the public safety department's proposal that consisted of the two parts.

UR President Richard Feldman said he recognizes that his decisions will not satisfy everyone, but said that is unavoidable in a complex situation like this one.

Feldman said he gave armed supervisors unrestricted access because, for example, they need to be part of the planning process for events requiring security.

"These were the officers who were most experienced and best suited to have those meetings,” he said. “But under the policy that we had, the armed officers were not allowed to come to the main campus and so they couldn’t participate in those meetings."

He said this will allow supervisors to provide oversight more effectively and build trust with members of the campus community.

He decided against adding armed officers, Feldman said, because it was not in the university’s collective interest, adding that he has tried to cultivate a culture of respect during his time as president.

“I thought to approve the proposal at this time would be divisive in a way and cause a great deal of concern among a lot of people on campus," he said.

“If the university had increased the number of armed officers, one would have been in a vehicle on the River Campus, one in a vehicle on university properties west of the Genesee River and one on foot patrol on the Eastman School of Music campus.”

Armed officers have been in place in the emergency department at the University of Rochester Medical Center since 2017.

Feldman adds that he want to make it very clear that his decision has nothing to do with any lack of confidence in the safety department.