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Safety officers to be armed on Carroll Community College campus

Some Carroll Community College campus safety personnel will soon be armed on campus under a new memorandum of understanding signed Monday between the school and the Carroll County Sheriff's Office.

The Carroll Community College Board of Trustees voted last week to approve arming Special Police Officers on campus.

The recommendation came after an internal review and discussions with the sheriff's office and the Maryland State Police, who both recommended arming the officers, according to a news release from the college.

The vote prompted the signing of the MOU.

"It is our belief that having armed Special Police Officers will better protect the college community and our officers during critical situations on campus," said Executive Vice President of Administration Alan Schuman in a prepared release.

Officers will be armed when the program is instituted in the next few months, according to Sylvia Blair, executive assistant to the president.

There are six full time officers. This is the first time they will be routinely armed.

In the past couple of years, there have been two or three instances in which officers have been armed for a day or an evening during isolated instances in which there was a perceived threat, Blair said in an email.

The majority of the Special Police Officers are retired law enforcement officers with more than 20 years of experience with carrying a firearm, according to the release.

The officers have been training with the sheriff's office and will continue that training, the release states.

The MOU formalized policies and responsibilities for public safety efforts between the sheriff's office and the college, according to a news release issued Monday by Carroll Community College.

The college's Office of Public Safety and Security will have jurisdiction over minor property crimes including burglaries and thefts that occur on campus. The office will also handle alcohol violation and disorderly conduct complaints, according to the release.

The sheriff's office will have primary control of violent crimes, missing persons reports and all drug violations.

The agreement with the college will provide a more specific and detailed support in assisting with serious crime investigations, said Col. Phil Kasten, of the sheriff's office.

"It allows the college and the sheriff's office to work more closely in providing a safe environment for students attending school on the campus there and other activities, as well as sharing information and resources to improve public safety," Kasten said.

From 2009 to 2011 the college had 43 reported incidents of larceny, which is the highest number of on-campus incidents.

The only other incidents reported in that time frame were three burglaries, two drug violations and one alcohol violation.

Some decisions on jurisdiction may be handled on a case-by-base basis, according to the agreement.

The college recently hired former Howard County Chief of Police Wayne Livesay as the chief of Security and Safety. Livesay is a 34-year veteran of the police force.

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