Princeton University’s Public Safety Officers Now Armed In Critical Incidents

Earlier this month, Princeton University’s Department of Public Safety announced that sworn public safety officers – who have the same training as every other police officer in the state – would now have access to a rifle when responding to a critical incident on campus.

After a lengthy debate on the matter, this change follows a series of deadly shootings seen on college campuses around the country.

“This decision by the university is about enhancing our emergency response,” Executive Director Paul Ominsky told Council Monday evening during his report. “It’s limited to emergency response for two specific situations – someone brandishing a firearm on campus or an active shooter situation.”

Ominsky went on to explain that in a situation where there is a critical incident on campus, having PU officers be a force multiplier for the Princeton Police Department is important.

“We are not changing the current response plan of the PPD. We need them,” Ominsky assured Council. “In a situation on campus, we can be helpful to the PPD, and that is what Chief Nick Sutter and I have talked about. As a result of this, we will do more drills; we will work together even more closely. These are good things for the safety of the community.”

“Unfortunately, in today’s world, we have to think of the unthinkable,” Sutter said. “But at the end of the day, when you are dealing with these critical incidents, it all comes down to public safety and how to save lives.”


In other news:

• Wendy Mager of Friends of Princeton Open Space presented Mayor Liz Lempert with a $50,000 grant award – a representation of the organization’s contribution to the two new footbridges at Billy Johnson Mountain Nature Lakes Preserve. The footbridges were completed in August and were celebrated earlier this month.

• Princeton has been awarded a congestion management and air quality grant through the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission for covered bike parking and bike share. “We’re looking to locate up to five covered bike parking shelters in town, as well as work with the university to extend their current bike rental program into a full-fledged bike share program with docking stations around the community,” Princeton’s Assistant Municipal Engineer, Deanna Stockton, told Council.

•The Larry Ivan Tribute Fund, established by a citizen-led group, has commissioned a commemorative plaque in honor of Princetonian Larry Ivan’s 40 years of service to the Princeton community. Ivan, who spent his summers managing the Princeton Community Park Pool, is fondly known as “the voice” of Princeton. A former Princeton Public School teacher and sports coach, Ivan has created long-lasting relationships with many members of the community. The bronze bas-relief portrait – to be created by Princeton sculptor Stephanie Madziak, is hoping to be completed in May – given that the $20,000 fundraising goal is reached. To date, the fund has raised approximately $17,000. To donate,

• The next Council meeting is slated for Monday, Nov. 9.