Wilkes, King’s Consider Hiring Armed Officers

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WILKES-BARRRE -- Police officers could soon patrol some college campuses in Wilkes-Barre.

Wilkes University and King's College are both considering hiring local officers.

A consulting firm recommends that Wilkes make the change, and students have mixed opinions about the issue.

Students at Wilkes University say they've noticed more public safety officers walking around campus this year compared to last year. But with the recent crime in the city of Wilkes-Barre, both on and off campus, some students wish there were more.

"I feel a little bit safer, but I feel safer, yet there has been more incidents of people getting hurt, getting robbed, getting mugged, anything like that," said Wilkes sophomore Jennifer Magnotta.

Just last month, four Wilkes students were robbed on South Main Street.

Wilkes and King's College are now considering hiring Wilkes-Barre Police officers to add to their security departments. Right now, public safety officers on campus don't have the power to arrest someone or use a firearm.

"If they get a call from a student that there's an assault in progress or what have you, they need to call the Wilkes-Barre Police at this point," said Wilkes University spokesperson Vicki Mayk.

Wilkes spokesperson Vicki Mayk says adding Wilkes-Barre police officers would quicken response times to incidents.

Most Wilkes students we spoke with said they don't mind having extra officers on campus to help out with the public safety department, but some said they were concerned about those officers carrying guns.

"Just the fact that there is a gun on campus, I mean that can be scary and overwhelming for some students here. They should be able to enforce them without using guns at all. That's my opinion on it. It's just a dangerous situation. It's scary," said Wilkes sophomore Tyler Dixon.

""I think it's safe because god forbid if somebody else got robbed, and the cop was right there, he could shoot and stop him. They could get all their things back and have the guy right there and take him in," said Magnotta.

Wilkes University plans to make a decision by the end of this fall semester.

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