SCHENECTADY - Eleven members of the Campus Safety Department have been appointed private college security officers, a designation that gives them additional authority to provide a safe and secure environment for the campus community.
The officers recently completed 327 hours of additional training with instructors from the Zone 5 Police Academy and passed a criminal background check for the special designation, which was granted by Schenectady Police Chief Michael Geraci.
Under state education law, the enhanced authority allows the offi cers to make warrantless arrests, detain or transport suspects and seize potential evidence, which would eventually be turned over to local law enforcement authorities. Officers are also permitted to carry a police baton and pepper spray, though Union's officers will not have batons. Officers are not permitted to carry a firearm.
A graduation and swearing-in ceremony was held March 15 in the Nott Memorial. Among those who spoke were Geraci and Schenectady Mayor Brian U. Stratton.
The college is working with the Schenectady Police Department to establish protocols for implementing the additional authority, which the college sought to help address the safety and security needs of the campus community.
"We have a very good partnership with the Schenectady Police De partment, which will continue to be on the front line response to any serious crime on campus," said William Sickinger, director of safety and security and one of the 11 granted the special officer status.
The 11 officers, who are among the most experienced on staff, are the first in the department to receive the special designation, which was created by the state Legislature in 1995. The goal is to eventually have the majority of the department's 34 officers appointed as private college security officers.
"We are committed to enhancing security and keeping Union College safe for all those who live and work here," said President Stephen C. Ainlay. "The additional authority and training will provide our officers with the ability to better protect the Union community."