Arizona State University police officers will now be armed with high-powered, assault-style rifles, the State Press reports. The school so far has bought four semiautomatic rifles costing $700 each and hopes to have its entire force armed with the rifles by the summer. Officers will be required to undergo around 40 hours of training, and the weapons will be kept in patrol cars. Police say the guns will allow officers to better respond to sniper scenarios or situations like the Virginia Tech assault, although the police commander points out the plan to buy the weapons had been in the works before the 2007 shootings.
The University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University police departments soon will be following suit; several other police departments in the University of California and California State University systems already are armed with similar weaponry, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports.