The Community Service Organization (CSO) is trying to double its yellow-clad, bicycle riding forces this year by enticing interested students with a recent wage increase and the promise of more flexible hours.
CSO Coordinator Jill Shepherd said the organization, which currently employs 40 CSOs and has 12 in training, hopes to increase its force to 80. Pay for new hires, who are expected to work at least 19 hours a week, starts at $9.25 an hour, with opportunities to receive a maximum wage of $12.50 an hour. Applications can be turned in at the CSO Office, located in the UC Police Dept. (UCPD) building on the corner of Mesa and Stadium Roads, or on the UCPD website, police.ucsb.edu.
Shepherd said the CSO force has been understaffed for years.
“It’s an ongoing problem we’ve been working on for a long time,” Shepherd said. “I don’t want people to get burnt out on the job because it’s so intense.”
Besides acting as first responders to any emergency, CSOs are responsible for bicycle education and regulation, as well as patrolling the campus and residence halls, Shepherd said. Upon request, CSOs will escort individuals home, either from campus or from Isla Vista. They also serve as security for special events, such as concerts in the UCen Hub. All services are available 365 days of the year and 21 and a half hours of the day, excluding the time between 5 and 7:30 a.m.
Shepherd said she hopes that hiring more CSOs will increase the flexibility of the position for those employed.
UCPD Chief of Police Bill Bean said he can sympathize with the busy schedules of the CSOs.
“They need to concentrate on their studies,” he said. “They need time off.”
Shepherd said the attempt to increase the number of CSOs is also in response to the growing population of UCSB and the demand for CSO services has been steadily increasing throughout recent years. She said this year’s increased force size will help the organization deal with the larger number of service requests.
“We’re catching up with campus needs,” Shepherd said. “In order to keep up with the growth of the campus we’re going to need more and more staff.”
CSOs are in particular demand for special-event security service.
“[CSOs] cost less for security at events and allow police to focus on things more safety-oriented,” Bean said.
Shepherd said the $9.25 per hour offered to CSOs this year represents a pay increase of one dollar from previous years. The increase was needed not only to compete for employees, but also to show how much the community appreciates the students.
“We wanted to recognize their service is worth a lot more,” Shepherd said. “It’s an extraordinarily responsible job.”