All the students who have ever wanted to send an Isla Vista Foot Patrol officer to the dunk tank got their chance yesterday at the California Highway Patrol’s Dunk-a-Cop booth presented by “Separate the Keys from the Keg.”
About 30 students wandered by the sparsely attended event in Storke Plaza, which was funded with a $2,700 allocation from Associated Students Finance Board. Attendees could jump on an inflatable tent, topple a beer can pyramid with keys, listen to a live band and tap a root beer keg during the festival, which was aimed at discouraging drunk driving.
However, the most popular attraction permitted students to send IVFP officers plummeting into a dunk tank with a “Finding Nemo” backdrop after correctly answering trivia questions about about offenses related to driving under the influence.
Fully uniformed – with the exception of swim trunks – CHP Public Information Officer Don Clotworthy, though visibly cold, sat on the platform taunting students in the 64-degree weather.
CHP commanding officer Jeff Sgobba interpreted Clotworthy’s jeers as a challenge and successfully struck the target, dunking his subordinate officer for approximately the tenth time that day.
UCSB alumnus and event coordinator Gabe Mann said that when the concept of dunking cops first arose, the event planners envisioned lower ranked officers volunteering.
“When we first thought about dunking a cop on this not very warm day, we expected CHP would send a cadet,” Mann said. “But instead, they sent over their highest ranking officer.”
Sgobba, who later took a turn in the dunk tank, said CHP officers are committed to preventing drunk driving – even if it means continually facing the dunk tank.
“Anything we can do to stop people from getting their keys and driving after drinking,” he said, as a student threw a ball at the bull’s eye. “Whatever it takes,” he said, seconds before plunging into the tank.
Other activities at the carnival included a bicycle obstacle course made up of construction cones, free hot dogs and a UCSB Drug & Alcohol Program booth.
Event coordinator Daniella Elghanayan was part of the student task force that worked in conjunction with CHP. Elghanayan, a third-year communication major, said another goal of the event was to foster more amicable relations between students and CHP officers.