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Proposal Could Put Security on Community College Campuses

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ROCKY MOUNT — Campus police are a common sight at universities across North Carolina. Until now, though, community colleges have been forced to hire guards from off-campus.

But that may soon change.

A North Carolina StateSenatebill could put more guards on two-year campuses.

Students strolling across campus atNash Community Collegesay they feel safe. Having two security guards nearby is part of the reason.

"Well, in case something did go wrong, someone could be out in the parking lot," said student Melody Stallings. "It helps."

The college pays a private service for its guards right now, but the senate bill could authorize community colleges in every county to assemble their own security forces -- full-time, on-campus police officers, like most four-year universities have.

The bill would provide a list of standards that every campus would follow.

"I think it's an excellent idea, especially if it's state-regulated. If you move from one campus to another there is some conformity among the campuses where the security is, and I think the students would feel more safe," said Suzanne Montiel, a criminal justice instructor at Nash Community College.

While community college leaders want to know more about who will pay for the new help, the idea of a full-time staff is an attractive one.

"We don't have some of the problems that other campuses do, but we do have a lot of visitors in and out, and we would like for them to feel they're in a safe environment," said Reid Parrott, college president at Nash Community College.

The bill is still making its way through the senate. If it passes, it becomes effective immediately.

The bill says the guards would concentrate specifically on campus, but could be called away if needed by a nearby town or county.


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