Hello, and welcome to UCSB! As you start your college experience at UCSB, I am sure you’re in for a great time. I’m sure you have heard that UCSB and Isla Vista are like no other places on earth. Without a doubt, that’s a fact.

For many, it’s like being dropped into the middle of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory with the golden ticket. Yes, it’s all pretty and looks tasty, but one wrong turn and you could end up being escorted off by the Oompa-Loompas to be de-juiced. That’s where I come in. As a police officer, part of my job is to look for people taking that wrong turn and write the not-so-golden tickets or make arrests. However, believe it or not, a bigger part is to hopefully prevent that from being necessary. Yes, Veruca, this is truly an odd, but wondrous, place.

In the years I have been a police officer here, I have often seen students finding themselves in unfortunate situations that could have easily been prevented with just a little bit of knowledge. So, I started writing these articles as an opportunity for me to provide some advice on how to avoid getting in trouble in Isla Vista, as well as a chance for the community to ask questions about the police, laws or just about anything law enforcement related. Hopefully, I can help you avoid getting into a bad situation or, if you do get in trouble, provide some information on what you can do to work it out. While out and about, you may see something happen and wonder why the cops did what they did. Ask me. I will try to explain how we do our jobs and why we do them that way. It’s OK to not like or agree with my answers. That’s the point.

To get us started this year, I am going to provide a few tips to help you avoid getting in trouble if you venture out into Isla Vista to check out the weekend party scene.

1. Keep in mind the legal drinking age is 21, even in Isla Vista. If you are under 21 and get caught in possession of alcohol, the fine can be $250, and you may lose your driver license for a year.

2. If you carry a cup around, which is, of course, only being used for soda or water or healthy fruit juice, carry it upside down. It helps keep the cops from checking to see if you are carrying a cup of beer.

3. Go with friends. Many victims of crime are often targets because they are by themselves. Isla Vista, like any community, has its share of problems. Be safe and stick with your friends.

4. If you are contacted by police for any reason, don’t give a fake name! Whether it’s for a beer ticket or a bike ticket, we always check ID. If you give a fake name, we will find out and you will end up spending the night in jail instead of going home. Yes, a ticket sucks, but trust me, jail is definitely much worse.

These are just a taste of the Everlasting Gobstopper of information I have for you. I love being a part of this community, and I hope you have the time of your life while you’re here. If you run into a problem or have a question, don’t hesitate to Question Authority. That’s what I’m here for, and that’s what college is all about. Good luck, and have a great year!

Got caught by a cop? Your party popped by the Po-Po? Ticked by a ticket? If you have questions, don’t let it eat away at you, Question Authority! E-mail me anytime at QA@police.ucsb.edu or call UCSB PD at (805) 893-3446.