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RPI students object to peace officers on campus

TROY— Students from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are pushing back against legislation to expand the capabilities and authority of the campus’ Public Safety officers.

The bill introduced by Sen Neil Breslin, D-Bethlehem, and Assemblyman John McDonald, D-Cohoes, at the request of Troy school’s administrators was intended to take the pressure off of the chronically short-staffed Troy Police Department and address the campus’ growing mental health needs, according to lawmakers and RPI officials.

“Specifically, this designation would enable public safety officers to be more responsive during mental health interventions on campus by allowing them to transport individuals in need of emergency services to healthcare facilities,” RPI spokesman Reeve Hamilton said. “Peace officer status also helps these officers gain access to state and national crime data, expediting their investigations and enhancing their overall effectiveness.”

Peace officers undergo additional training and have the authority to conduct searches and make arrests when constitutionally allowed. The RPI bill specifies that the campus officers will not be armed.

RPI security staff has had to respond to several incidents involving firearms in the last year. In May, an international student was detained and expelled for attempting to purchase a weapon. In October, the Troy campus was flooded with police officers …read more

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