On Sept. 23, Lt. Tom McKinny quietly rode into town, polished his badge and stepped into his new position as head of the Isla Vista Foot Patrol.
McKinny replaces former Lt. Russ Birchim, who held the position for one year. The move brings fresh blood into the IVFP and while it’s a good tactic, common in the county for avoiding stagnation among employees, it seems premature.
A year is just enough time for a lieutenant to gain experience with the people and issues concerning I.V. residents, but it prevents him or her from putting that knowledge to a good use. The sheriff’s department should allow lieutenants to stay at least two years in I.V. before rotating in someone new.
The change also dumps McKinny in I.V. at the start of the school year, right when hordes of students return to cheap apartments and crowded streets. The sheriff’s department promoted McKinny to lieutenant in June. It would have made more sense to instate him sometime over the summer. Then he would have had some time to adjust to his new surroundings and staff.
While it’s an awkward foot for McKinny to start on, his experience in the county and previous history as a pavement pounder in I.V. should help him pick up the steps quickly.
In order to ease the transition, the Daily Nexus would like to offer Lt. McKinny some friendly suggestions.
First, keep in contact with the people you’re sworn to serve and protect. Get to know I.V.’s residents, from the college students and families to the local business owners. Attend town hall and I.V. Recreation and Parks District meetings, no matter how dull or dry. This will help you keep in tune with the concerns of residents.
One of best ways to do it is spend a few nights walking the streets with your deputies. You’ll get a chance to reacquaint yourself with both the good and bad in the community. It works for Chancellor Yang. It worked for Birchim. It can work for you.
Keep in mind that your deputies represent the IVFP to the I.V. community, whether they like it or not. If deputies understand and respect the town they work in, most residents will show respect in return.
Keep in touch with the university and the county. They both have an interest in maintaining and regulating I.V., so if the communication flows freely between you, implementation and enforcement of ordinances and university policies should run much smoother.
Finally, keep up the “broken window” policy currently employed by the IVFP. Cracking down on the tipsy and annoying residents before they turn into drunk and violent ones is an effective way to reduce some of the common problems we have in I.V.
Welcome, Lt. McKinny; it’s always nice to see a new face.