The president of the state's higher education system wants community colleges to be able to hire armed police officers. Colleges and universities are already allowed to do this, but adding community colleges would require legislative approval.
Board of Regents President Mark Ojakian said students and faculty at the state's 12 community colleges have made one thing clear:
"They wanted to feel safe on their campuses," he said.
The General Assembly's higher education committee is considering a bill that would allow any community college to hire armed campus police.
Officers would have to go through the same training that regular police go through -- they could make arrests and would need to be recertified every three years.
There are already four community colleges that have certified police officers on campus, but they don't carry firearms.
Ojakian said he understands concerns that some people might have, but he supports letting each college decide if they want armed officers.
"I think what we're trying to do is not only provide a deterrent to having any sort of crimes committed on those campuses, but also to have the proper response time should an incident happen," he said.
Even though students don't live on campus at community colleges, Ojakian said that doesn't make them immune to possible gun violence.
He points to the shooting at a community college in Oregon a few months ago, where ten people were killed.
The proposed legislation would require each school that wanted armed police to submit a request to the Board of Regents before being approved.