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Villanova U. May Give Its Campus Police Arrest Powers, Weapons

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Brad Segall Brad Segall
Brad Segall is the award-winning Suburban Bureau chief at KYW...
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By Brad Segall, Diana Rocco

VILLANOVA, Pa. (CBS) — Villanova University is considering joining the ranks of many colleges and universities across the country that have made the switch to a “full service” police force.

University spokesman Jonathan Gust says no decision has been made yet and the university is holding forums with students, faculty, and staff to discuss the issue and get input from the campus community.

At this point they are not discussing details publicly, including whether officers would carry guns.

Alison Kiss, executive director of the Wayne-based Clery Center for Security on Campus, says each school is different and they should constantly revisit their protocols and policies.

“If there is a reason that you need to, for example, arm your officers and give them arrest powers, then it’s something that certainly should be investigated, explored, and possibly implemented based on what you find,” she says.

“I think it’s incumbent on Villanova, that as soon as possible, if they are seriously considering this, they have to include us in the mix,” Chief William Colarulo of Radnor Police said.

Colarulo says his department needs to be part of that conversation. Right now his police force handles violent crimes and other serious incidents on campus.

“Unfortunately its inevitable that you are going to have a major incident on a campus, not necessarily a mass shooting, but you are going to have a major incident such as a rape, or a sudden death, and you need to have clear, established protocol,” he said.

Villanova students say with a low rate of violent crime on campus, it’s not something they’re ready for.

“I don’t know if there’s really a need for it, but it wouldn’t bother me,” student Kelsey Hanson said.

“I think they should leave it to police, I don’t believe it’s necessary,” another student said.

“It’s not something a campus like this really needs. I think it would just insight fear,” student Alexandra Steiner said.

Villanova’s patrol officers are responsible for parking enforcement, residence hall protection, building security, and crime prevention.  If there is a crime on campus and they need to make arrests, Radnor police are called to respond.

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