Editor, Daily Nexus,
I would like to strongly echo Henry Sarria’s article (Daily Nexus, “Defending the Foot Patrol,” April 30). We are very lucky to have this excellent style of community policing in our small, dense, student-based town. Imagine if instead of bike and foot patrols each pair of officers were driving a black and white? These additional cars would be in the way and not be as effective as the current patrol’s calming presence and approachability. Although we do have crime here, our heavy student-aged demographic represents the highest crime rate statistically, and, as Henry stated, the majority of violations are rather harmless.
We personally have had the good fortune of having the foot patrol apprehend a suspect in our home as we witnessed the invasion and were able to summon them immediately. That same incident led to my car being stolen, and the foot patrol found it nearby the next day! On a different street, another time, an officer was already on the scene when a big, drunk fellow tipped over our car and, with our help and most likely the perpetrator’s, righted the vehicle without much problem. Another July 4 incident landed a burning rocket on the roof next door. I called the IVFP immediately and they summoned the fire department. I appreciate their nearby presence and know their number by heart. Now these are strange tales not many people would want to put up with, but the benefits of Isla Vista, like a lot more bikes and pedestrians than cars, definitely outweigh the problems.
Although vandalism, noise and trash are problems that could definitely be worked on, the draconian tactics that the grand jury would suggest just are not in the spirit of our town! Let us not be in the bad position again of having out-of-town forces using heavy-handed police tactics to quell a little rowdy fun. Returning to the politically incorrect days 30 years ago of house-to-house searches and lobbing tear gas canisters into peoples’ backyards is certainly not the answer. The foot patrol currently attends community meetings regularly and works together with our businesses and our residents. They need to be applauded.