Berklee College of Music Explains Decision to Arm Campus Police With Pistols

A Massachusetts college is explaining to area residents their decision to arm their campus police officers with weapons.

In June, campus police at Berklee College of Music started walking around armed with pistols.

“I really don’t think any of the students are going to get hurt,” said Berklee student Cristian Perez. “I think it’s only going to be used in very specific situations.”

The move came as a surprise to some students.

“Being at Berklee I like to feel safe,” said Berklee student Emily Gelineau. “Now that there are Berklee safety people carrying guns, it does make me feel a little more on the unsafe side to be honest in case anything does go wrong or there’s a misunderstanding.”

Some area residents raised concerns with the school, pushing Berklee leaders to host a meeting Tuesday night to explain the reasons for adding guns to the campus police force.

The school says it’s about keeping everyone safer.

“If police are not armed and there’s an active shooter situation their guidelines insist they not go in,” said Berklee Associate Vice President J. Curtis Warner, Jr.

The school and the neighborhood near Fenway are almost one in the same and some long-time residents felt blind-sided that there wasn’t more conversation.

“I feel like a decision was made and whether or not we would have wanted it or not wanted it -- it was going to happen,” said Letta Neely who lives in the neighborhood.

School leaders stand by their decision to arm their police officers, but did apologize for not keeping people better informed.

“I don’t like having extra guns in the neighborhood,” said resident Jessica Sorkin.

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