For Gena Glickman, president of Manchester Community College, the legislative committee's hearing Thursday on campus security couldn't have come at a better time. Her campus was in lockdown Wednesday afternoon and early evening after the report of gunman.
"It was a long day yesterday and a very scary one," Glickman told members of the higher education committee Thursday, " but it turned out well."
A gunman wasn't found and eventually students, staff and administrators were allowed to leave.
However, Glickman, along with two Connecticut university police chiefs who testified at the hearing, had a message for legislators: campus police should be armed.
"We've been getting accolades from the police departments that helped serve yesterday about how well prepared we were," Glickman said, but she added that the MCC police could have been more of an asset to the effort if they were armed.
Glickman said that during the lockdown Wednesday, the college police were essentially treated like civilians. " They basically can't cross police lines. They can't go and assist," she said, although they are most familiar with the MCC campus lay- out and the community.
"They had to hand over their keys. They had to stand back," said Glickman, who also has asked the state Board of Regents for Higher Education to allow guns to campus guards. "They couldn't be in the front lines."
Currently, campus police do carry arms at the University of Connecticut and at the state's four regional universities. Glickman said that 10 of the 12 community colleges do not have armed police officers on campus. She said Naugatuck Community College has its own armed police department, while Gateway Community College contracts with the New Haven Police to have armed officers on campus.