Northeastern University will equip its police department with semiautomatic rifles, despite concern from law enforcement.
Northeastern’s decision to increase their firepower was met with opposition from Boston police, who claim they were not included in the discussion, Boston.com stated.
“We’re concerned when we see … campus police departments that are within the neighborhoods of the city make decisions without including Boston police in the process,” Lt. Michael McCarthy, a department spokesman, was quoted in the Boston.com report.
"I understand his concern — his perspective — but I'm also the person responsible for the safety and security of this campus," Northeastern University Police Chief Michael Davis said in a related WGBH report. "My primary concern is what are we doing to make sure we are prepared."
Davis told WGBH that his department is fully prepared because it recently trained 20 specific officers to handle tactical rifles in case of a shooter on campus.
Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans told WGBH that because the university sits in the middle of Boston, it is in his jurisdiction, and arming any campus police in the city is not necessary.
"I can remember having a dialogue not long ago about whether they should be carrying handguns," Evans said to WGBH. "Now we're talking about a dialogue on whether they should have patrol rifles. Obviously I don’t think they’re necessary. We can be on those campuses within five or six minutes. We're highly trained."
"Odds are, these weapons will never see the light of day," Davis said to WGBH. "We're talking about the very unlikely event that we need to have this level of weaponry be used."