Hello to all of you new to UC Santa Barbara and ‘Hi again!’ to all of you coming back for the next round! It’s been a hot few summer months here at UCSB as we are now gearing up for the influx of so many of you coming to join the daily joy of classes, studying, tests, quizzes, essays, term papers and exciting lectures about the microbial properties of dermatophyte fungi found on the right big toe of the megalonychidae. But despite the whole “going to college to learn some of that book-stuff” philosophy parents like me have when paying tuition, you will also be having some of the greatest times of your life with friends you will meet and will love and tell stories about to your grandkids. College is about learning not just about book stuff, but life as well.
As you learn about UCSB and the community, many of you will venture forth to explore and grab a taste of college life’s crazier moments. Often that involves a wicked game of foosball, using a fake eye for the ball and taking a dare to swallow a bite of the half-eaten Snickers bar found under the fridge. Or what happens when that tasty morsel of chocolate and peanuts turns out to previously have been a piece of old banana sealed in a puddle of chocolate pudding spilled by the previous renters, showing you that things sometimes don’t turn out as good as you had hoped. Sure, you earned that buck twenty-five in Chuck E. Cheese tokens, but that is not what the emergency crew is asking you as you are rushed to the ER for the stomach pumping you’ve always dreamed of.
Sometimes the greatest adventures still end in unfortunate moments. A night of partying ends with someone getting a beer ticket, getting their cell phone stolen or being arrested for public intoxication. As great as our community is, it still has some problems. My goal in writing these articles is to not only encourage more communication between law enforcement and the members of our community, but to also help provide a way to answer questions people have about taking care of tickets, what’s legal or not, what are a person’s rights, what can or can’t the cops do/say or any myriad of questions that come up. I’ve been fortunate to be able to talk to various groups and even after twenty-five years, I am always hit with a great question I was not expecting. And who knows, maybe someone will ask where the idea of cops liking donuts came from and if it’s really a myth. But for now, here are a few of the most common questions to get the year started off with a bang. Or a whimper, if you prefer …
If I get a ticket, do I have to appear in court?
What a great question! That must be coming from someone with the brilliance of Einstein mixed with the handsomeness of George Clooney and the wit of Mitch Hedberg! Or I pilfered it from a previous article. Yeah, probably the latter.
So, no, you generally do not have to appear in court when you get a ticket. Most tickets can be handled either by mail, phone or online. However, if you are under 21 years old and get an alcohol or drug related ticket, you will be required to appear. Those tickets have mandatory appearances before the court. Over 21, you can handle it by logging in to www.sbcourts.org and entering your ticket info. And you can do it while curled in a ball on your bathroom floor in your favorite Incredible Hulk boxer shorts while binging on Hostess cupcakes. Not saying I’ve done that, but …
Bike tickets on campus? Really?
Really. Next …
Hey! Come on! About those bike tickets?
Okay, sorry for the snarky response. Just spilled cupcake filling on my Incre… Never mind. Yes, we do write bike tickets on campus! Bikes are a major part of getting around on the UCSB campus and in Isla Vista. With the 20,000 bikes going on and off campus every day, we have many accidents with very serious injuries during the year. Some of the worst ones can be a biker hitting a pedestrian. The goal is to attempt to minimize the interaction between bikers and the pedestrians and reduce the risks to both. There are thousands of people walking on the sidewalks, in and out of buildings, coming around corners and sometimes even skipping along their merrily way. A bike, even at slow speeds, can have a hard time navigating around people and avoiding them at corners and as they exit buildings. And the pedestrians should feel that sidewalks are safe to walk on.
So riding the bikes on the sidewalks will result in a ticket that is almost $200. You have the option to attend a one-hour bike safety class on campus for $35 and the ticket is dropped. The goal is to help educate you and not create a financial burden on you. Well, yes, of course, by ‘you’ I meant the other bikers who don’t have your skills and spider-like senses that would avoid the collisions! But sorry, even Spiderman would get the biking ticket.
So as the school year progresses do all you can to stay safe, watch out for you and your friends and help make this a safe community. If you do run into a problem and would like some help or questions answered, or even just have a question for a cop, please feel free to call or email me and I will gladly do what I can to help. In the meantime, look for us at the next Pizza with Police at Pizza My Heart in Isla Vista on October 1, 2015, at six p.m. I look forward to giving out free pizza and answering any questions you have! Take care and see you there.
Got caught by a cop? Your party popped by the Police? Ticked off by a ticket? If you have questions, don’t let it eat away at you, question authority! Email me anytime at: QA@police.ucsb.edu or call me at (805) 893-3446!