I’m a little upset… no, I’m very upset with the Isla Vista Foot Patrol. I’ve been at UCSB for five years now, and I’ve seen Isla Vista gradually change. I was here during the 2004 fall offensive where increased police funding led to police hiding behind bushes trying to catch people, unlawful entries into students’ homes and massive intimidation by cops on a trip. Essentially, the police were abusing their power trying to crack down on the student drinking.
At the time, A.S. Student Lobby Chair Lance Tackett said the abuses of police power and overzealous enforcement of alcohol violations increased as a result of the grants issued to the foot patrol by the Dept. of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC). He said to receive the money, the IVFP had to prove there was a need to control alcohol abuse.
The students were furious at the lack of oversight and the self-righteous autonomy the police had given themselves. Then, with the help of A.S., the students fought back with the “fall defensive.” They started following the police officers around with cameras. It was “COPS,” for real. But instead of capturing cops swagging their big sticks, the footage was meant to ensure that our tax-paid protectors of the law were not abusing their power and to make sure that the $150,000 of taxpayers’ money/grants was being used correctly. That was for a mere $150,000 worth of grants. (Daily Nexus, Nov. 8, 2004)
This year we saw a $4 million new IVFP facility go up. You can’t miss it. It’s at 6500-square-foot facility at 6504 Trigo. It is three times the size of the IVFP’s previous facility on Pardall Road. At first I was impressed by the two-story building, the “formal lobby,” the interview rooms, the gender-specific locker rooms, the holding cells, the briefing room, makeup and powder rooms and increased office space. But then I asked myself: “With the state and nation-wide budget crisis going on, and all of Isla Vista’s non-police related problems, did they really need spend that much money and upgrade by that much?”
I played devil’s advocate with myself, as I always do. I said to myself: “With all of Isla Vista’s crime and alcohol related accidents, they need the holding cells.” But then I read in 93106, the UCSB staff newspaper, that “the plans indicate only two rooms for that purpose with the larger one designed for no more than four people. Property storage claims much more space.”(93106, Jan 8., 2007) I thought to myself, “Humm… increased office space for the officers is more important than having a significant number of holding cells to house the violent and/or drunken offenders.” Sounds a little piggy, I mean fishy, to me.
Then I thought: “Well the new building is closer to the dorms and to Del Playa Drive, therefore it would give the students and I.V. community residents more access to officers.” However, two weeks ago I went to the IVFP, in the middle of the day, to ask if anyone had turned in my missing keys, and it was closed. I read a little sign that said “CLOSED DUE TO STAFFING.” I wondered why it was closed in the middle of the day. I went back last week, to report my lost keys, and again the new $4 million state-of-the-art building was closed. Same sign. And today, I went back and again, same story. I may be a person who loses things easily, but I have not lost my sense of entitlement. As a UCSB alumnus, full-time UCSB staff employee and I.V. community member, I pay taxes and I want my hard-earned money to be used wisely. Instead of building a $4 million building that will be closed all the time, why didn’t we spend that money to build a couple of more sidewalks so that UCSB students can stop getting killed by drunken and/or crazy drivers.
By the way, the old building was much more friendly to drop-in visitors. I could always walk into the old IVFP offices on Pardall and speak with an officer face to face. Now, at the new building even if there is someone to staff it, they are behind a glass wall, speaking to me through a small metal hole. I feel like I’m at a gas station in Compton. Is this really necessary? What ever happened to the good old friendly community police station?
On a final note, I want say that I do appreciate the officers who put their lives on the line to serve and protect us. Their presence makes I.V. a safer and more enjoyable place. For that, I say thank you. In the end I just want your presence. So, please staff your building, get rid of the Compton gas station-like glass wall and don’t abuse your power. And will someone please find my keys?