No guns for FLCC campus security

Julie Sherwood

Finger Lakes Community College President Barbara Risser told county officials Thursday that the college has no plans to arm its security staff on the Hopewell campus. “Arming security guards is not on the table,” she told the Board of Supervisors.

The board at its Thursday meeting approved a plan that would allow the college to replace two of its security guards with peace officers. The college is considering making all its campus security guards into peace officers. Peace officers have the ability to make arrests and conduct criminal investigations. They receive 400 hours of training, as opposed to security guards who receive 24 hours training and “give parking tickets,” said Risser.

Under the plan, two campus security guards would become peace officers — raising the number of peace officers from three to five, in addition to four existing security guards.

The college has the $31,000 in its budget to train two peace officers. Covered by that sum, peace officers would fill two full-time positions while the newly appointed peace officers undergo a six-month training. Risser said security guards make a starting wage of $12.84 an hour, while peace officers begin at $14.05.

“This is a step that would give us a more professional staff at a very reasonable cost,” she said. 

On April 17, SUNY Chancellor John R. Ryan directed all college presidents to form ad hoc committees to assist SUNY with a comprehensive review of safety and security systems and operations in light of the Virginia Tech tragedy. Former FLCC President Dan Hayes directed the College Council to form the committee, which recommended that all FLCC security officers be made peace officers and that the number be increased. Under a three-year plan still under discussion, all campus uniformed guards would be peace officers, bringing the number to 11.

Also at Thursday’s meeting, Risser gave the Board of Supervisors specifics on how the college will pursue doubling its enrollment in 10 years, to 11,000. It will involve a gradual process of identifying ways to attract more students year-to-year, she said. “It’s a long-range plan that uses a road map.” Risser said the goals for 2008-09, for example, include a new college logo, mission statement and making decisions about adding space for academics and other student needs.

The agenda for the Board of Trustees meeting tonight at 7:30 includes recommendations from consultants about opening an additional college satellite center. The meeting takes place in Room B440 on the fourth floor of the college at 4355 Lakeshore Drive.

Julie Sherwood can be reached at (585) 394-0770, Ext. 263, or at jsherwood@mpnewspapers.com.