I am lucky enough to be writing this article from the island of Maui! It’s amazing how much easier it seems to write an article while watching whales jump, sipping on a Lavaman Pale Ale, and dealing with important issues like how long it takes my dive gear to dry. Life is rough. Of course, like everyone on a Hawaiian vacation, my thoughts turn to how I could drop everything and live here. After a few Mai Tais, I’m starting to convince myself I could quit my job, move here and become a professional whale counter. After all, I’ve proved how good I am at that over the last hour.

Unfortunately, the bill helps instill a dose of reality. Counting whales is not going to pay for food, clothing, or the kids’ education, much less the bar tab. Really, it’s not too much different than a Friday night on Del Playa. A few drinks and pretty soon it’s amazing: your ideas can change the world, right the wrongs, go where no man has gone before! As great as they might seem, they don’t make much sense the next morning. It’s obvious now that I’ve put some thought into it: the real money is in shell collecting, right?

Q: The other night while walking on Del Playa with some friends, I saw a kid being arrested. I tried to tell the cop that I thought he was being too harsh with the kid and the cop was rude to me and told me to keep walking or I could get arrested for interfering. Arrested for what?

A: Whenever I make an arrest, regardless of the crime that person has committed, I have the responsibility to make sure I respect their rights and do my job properly. If I don’t, I need to be called on it. No problem there.

However, often when I make an arrest, especially on a Friday or Saturday night in Isla Vista, there is someone who has something they’d like to say about it. I am more than willing talk to people and answer questions after I am done with the arrest. But while I’m making the arrest or interviewing witnesses and victims? Not a good time to step in and interject yourself.

If you’ve been drinking, also reconsider if it’s the right time to intercede. As much as you might have the urge to step in, wait. If your stepping in interferes with my ability to talk to witnesses, make the arrest, or conduct an investigation, you can be arrested for interfering (148 Penal Code). This doesn’t mean you can’t watch what is happening. After it’s all over, ask to speak to the officers and ask questions. There is no requirement that we stay and answer everyone’s questions every time we are asked. In fact, there is a lot we can’t or won’t say right then. Nothing personal.

If the officers can’t or won’t talk to you then, wait until the next day and ask to speak to a supervisor about what you saw. That is the time to have a calm discussion on police procedures and what happens on the streets of Isla Vista.

It’s time for me to get back to my whale counting practice. Wait, I’ve got it. Fire dancing! Fire dancing will be my new career and first step toward a life on the Island of Maui! I mean what can go wrong spinning and tossing giant flaming Q-tips into the air! If you don’t see another Q&A article, rest assured I’m living the life in Maui. If you see another article, I’m probably healing nicely. So for now, Aloha! 

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