It’s been another week and it’s time to bring on the questions. If you sent me a question and I haven’t gotten back to you, don’t worry. I’ve been out of the office for a short time and will be getting back to everyone as soon as I can! I also wanted to mention that if you have a question, concern, or problem that needs more personal attention, call me directly and I will make sure to do whatever I can to help you out. My office number is 893-4063 and I am usually there Monday to Friday, 9 to 5.
And now, the questions of the day:
I was sitting in my car when an officer caught me drinking a beer. I got the Minor in Possession ticket, but the officer also searched my car even though I told him I wasn’t giving him permission to. Don’t they need a warrant?
In this case, no. Normally the police need a warrant to search your home or your car. However, the courts have ruled that since cars are “transitory”, or can be moved easily, the police can search a vehicle without a warrant if they have established the proper level of probable cause to show there is something illegal or evidence of a crime in the vehicle.
In your example, your being underage and the possession of the alcohol was the illegal act and established the “probable cause” to believe there could be more alcohol in the car. Once an officer has found something illegal – drugs, weapons, or in your case, alcohol – he may search the remainder of the vehicle for similar illegal items.
Is it true that all cops like donuts?
Okay. Admit it. You all wanted to ask that.
No. Some of us like bear claws. Actually, there is a reason for the link of cops and donuts. My uncle was a LAPD officer for 25 years and he explained the reason for the link. Years and years ago, the only places open in the cities at 3 a.m. were the donut shops. So it was not uncommon to see a donut shop with several police cars parked there as the cops hung out and had their… coffee… So when someone asked where the cops were, they were told, “at the donut shop”. Even though 24-hour donut shops seem to be a thing of the past, the connection still lingers.
Why do the shops and bars in Isla Vista stop selling alcohol at midnight while everywhere else stops selling at 2 a.m.? Doesn’t that encourage people who have been drinking to drive to Goleta to buy alcohol?
The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is the agency responsible for the issuing and controlling of the alcohol licenses. A standard was reached years ago that alcohol sales in Isla Vista would stop at 12 a.m., unlike everywhere else in which the time was set at 2 a.m.
The reason for this time difference was the goal of limiting the availability of alcohol later in the night and to help bring parties to an end earlier in the evening. The limit helps prevent the “late-night beer run” for most people. Although you’re right that there are some who will drive into Goleta to get more alcohol, the police realize this and there is more focus on DUI enforcement during those hours. Overall, the time difference, from our perspective, has helped prevent most parties from continuing on into the early morning hours. Nowadays if you walk around I.V. at 3 a.m., it’s pretty rare to have a loud party still going on.
Thanksgiving is almost upon us and many of you will be headed home for the long weekend. I hope you all have a safe holiday and be sure to lock up your homes while you are away. Happy Thanksgiving!
To ask UCPD Crime Prevention Officer Mark Signa a question, email him at