Niagara County Community College's Sanborn campus will be patrolled by armed guards, starting this fall, as part of an upgraded security program.
The number of peace officers on campus could also increase in coming years, said W. Ross Annable, who became the college's director of security in January.
The college will continue to employ about 20 unarmed security officers, but the 2018-19 college budget, ratified Tuesday by the County Legislature, included about $250,000 for security upgrades.
Annable, a former member of the county Sheriff's Office, and his assistant will be classified as peace officers, allowing them to make arrests on campus. Security officers can't do that.
Annable said he and an assistant security director, yet to be hired, will carry a Glock 21, the same model of .45-caliber handgun carried by Niagara County sheriff's deputies.
Also, the peace officers may be allowed to begin carrying Tasers in the future, Annable said.
"The plan is to increase the number of officers that will be peace officers," Annable said.
The current security officers will be allowed to train and take tests to become peace officers, but many don't want to, Annable said.
"We'll keep the unarmed force and we'll start to build the armed force. It'll probably always be a mixed force," Annable said. "This is a mold that most other colleges have gone for."
NCCC Interim President William J. Murabito told the college Board of Trustees Tuesday that he expects a contract will be signed with the Sheriff's Office to assign a deputy to patrol the campus during school hours.
The patrols will be carried out by an off-duty deputy, not one on his regular county shift. The cost is still being worked out, he said.
Annable said he expects to work a daytime shift and his assistant would work an afternoon-night shift.
"We've made great strides on safety," Murabito said.
Meanwhile, the Legislature ratified a $48.1 million NCCC budget Tuesday that raises tuition $84 per semester, or nearly 4 percent, to $2,196 per semester for a full-time student.
For the first time in 12 years, the Legislature agreed to increase the county's contribution to the college.
The county will pay $8,971,000, a boost of $100,000, or 1.1 percent. The college had asked for a 2 percent increase, but legislators balked at that.
The Legislature also appointed two new NCCC trustees: Lewiston businessman Jerald I. Wolfgang for a three-year term and Kevin Clark, a Lockport teacher, for a seven-year term.
Bradley Rowles resigned as a trustee Tuesday, and Legislator Richard L. Andres Jr. left the board after becoming chairman of the county Republican Party in April.