Students will patrol the streets this weekend, potentially writing up Isla Vista Foot Patrol (IVFP) and UC Police Dept. (UCPD) officers.

UCSB students taking Law & Society 4: Police and Community Rights — a student-run class — will follow and watch officers this Saturday as part of their training to become certified legal observers, Rami Hanna, co-instructor of the class, said. The course, which was created last Spring Quarter by students, explores the history of the IVFP, teaches students how to observe police behavior and has the eventual goal of teaching students how to write policy recommendations to police departments.

Hanna said legal observers try to confirm allegations about police behavior in a community by trailing officers and recording their activities, names and badge numbers in a notebook. Students can be certified through the Midnight Special Law Collective — a nonprofit organization that provides legal training and support to community activists — upon completion of the course, he said.

“We don’t want police to overstep their boundaries,” Hanna said.

Co-instructor of the class Sarika Sinha said the class tries to act as an intermediary between the community and the police, as both try to increase the safety of Isla Vista.

“The purpose of the class is to watch what police do in I.V. with respect to how they treat community members,” Sinha, a third-year law & society major said. “They should be working toward the same goal as the community.”

Hanna said he has heard about and personally observed incidents during which police officers allegedly acted condescendingly toward civilians they came in contact with or did not perform their function as keepers of the peace. He said he thinks officers too often focus on alcohol violations over more serious crimes, such as individuals being physically assaulted.

Isla Vista residents sometimes refuse to call the IVFP or UCPD for serious incidents like alcohol poisoning because they are afraid of being arrested for a violation, Hanna said. He said he witnessed a crowd trying to move a man who had been hit by a car while drunk because they claimed the police would arrest him instead of taking him to a hospital.

Despite what many students allege about the two departments, UCPD Officer Mark Signa said what they often observe from their perspective, versus what the law enforcement officers actually experience, can differ greatly. Signa said he was once accused of police brutality because an individual saw him force a suspect to the ground. However, Signa said he did so only after pursuing the suspect on a lengthy chase.

“Students see [one thing] and think we’re brutalizing someone,” Signa said. “But there’s always a little more to a story.”

However, Signa said inappropriate behavior on the part of officers does sometimes occur and should be reported to the officer’s supervisor or office.

“We need to be held accountable,” Signa said.