City councilors want a public hearing about Northeastern’s police weapons

A Northeastern University Police Department vehicle near the main campus.
A Northeastern University Police Department vehicle near the main campus. –David L. Ryan / The Boston Globe, file

Northeastern University administrators decided in December that they would provide rifles to 20 officers during high-level threats.

Two city councilors, in an open letter to the university president, say they want a public hearing on the matter because the university’s neighbors should have a say, reports The Boston Globe.

“This is a step backwards for community policing and encourages mistrust and fear,’’ councilors Josh Zakim and Tito Jackson said in the letter, according to the Globe.

The Boston Police Department has called the weapons unnecessary, saying they could respond to a crisis at the school within minutes.

Ralph C. Martin II, the school’s general counsel, told the Globe, “You recognize that you are not going to make everyone happy. If a severe incident of the type that none of us wants occurs, our police department is able to get there first. And while backup is on the way, we have to have the capability to make sure the incident does not spread.’’

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Read the full story in the Globe.

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