For Immediate Release — September 7, 2004

SUNY GENESEO EXTENDS POLICY ON ARMING UNIVERSITY POLICE OFFICERS;

LIMITED ACCESS TO ARMS AUTHORIZED

GENESEO, N.Y. — In an amendment to a policy approved at the State University of New York at Geneseo in 1999, President Christopher C. Dahl has granted the college’s University Police access to arms in case of emergency, or if they must confront a threat to themselves or other members of the campus community. The new policy guarantees that while officers will not carry arms at all times, they are now authorized, in emergency situations, to gain access to arms that are secured in their patrol vehicles and in the University Police offices. The new policy is effective immediately.

This modification is an extension of the policy Dahl approved in 1999, which allowed officers limited access to arms secured in the University Police office. The policy was established following the enactment of a law that took effect in 1999 giving law enforcement officers at 27 SUNY campuses the same status as other police officers in New York. SUNY policy currently allows police at its campuses to carry guns, but the decision to arm officers is made on a campus-by-campus basis.

In a Sept. 7 memo to the campus community, Dahl said that in the unlikely event that a life-threatening situation or dire emergency should occur on campus, "our officers will be able to respond immediately, instead of drawing back and waiting, as they must now, for armed officers from another local agency to arrive on the scene." He added that University Police Chief James Stenger will control the college’s response to an emergency "rather than relinquishing control to non-college personnel who may know little or nothing about the physical layout of the campus or may be unaware of other campus resources available to resolve or mediate a situation."

Dahl added that his decision reflects his confidence in the leadership and professionalism of the college’s University Police, a force of 16 officers. "Our officers are carefully trained and accustomed to working with students in an undergraduate community," he said.

Dahl also announced that Vice President for Student and Campus Life Robert Bonfiglio has assumed the role of University Police supervisor. "Our philosophy of police work at Geneseo has always been based on the concept of community policing, and student affairs is responsible for building community on campus," Dahl explained. "The reporting relationship will reinforce our belief that the key role of the police is to protect the safety and security of a diverse and talented student body – to ensure that our educational goals are met in a safe and supportive community."

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