RI Board of Education approves allowing URI to arm police officers

State education officials have approved allowing the University of Rhode Island to arm its campus police officers.

The state's Board of Education voted Thursday evening at a meeting at the URI campus.

The proposal would leave it to URI officials to decide whether to arm the university's police force. Right now, Rhode Island is the only state that prohibits public higher education police officers from carrying firearms.

Calls to change that policy got a boost after URI police responded to reports of a gunman in a university building last month. No gun or shooter was found, but supporters of the legislation say the incident highlighted a critical security weakness.

URI President David Dooley supports arming university police.