Northeastern University is arming some members of its police force with semiautomatic rifles, despite the apprehensions of the nearby Boston Police Department and critics who worry about an increasing militarization of campus law enforcement.
The decision — motivated by a string of recent shootings on campuses and elsewhere — has proven to be controversial, and drawn sharp condemnation from Boston’s police commissioner. But in adding tactical rifles to its arsenal, the Northeastern University Police Department joins dozens of other campus forces that already carry military-style weapons.
“There is no higher priority than the safety and well-being of our campus community,” the university said in a statement Wednesday. “Like other universities with police departments, our officers are trained to employ a number of capabilities to protect the campus community, including the use of tactical rifles if necessary.”