I feel like I need to say something. I completely support the idea of police in Isla Vista, but something needs to change. If there weren’t police here, it would be a complete madhouse and we would be a lot worse off. But after this past Halloween weekend in I.V., I’ve realized something.
I’m a Santa Barbara local and I love my community, but Isla Vista is not what we call a respected part of the county. We are seen as drunken degenerates and I understand why. Parties like Halloween and Floatopia don’t exactly make us look like fine upstanding citizens and end up costing the county a whole lot of money. But does anyone remember that we are here to go to school and that it is getting harder to get into UCSB each year? Those events that make UCSB so well known for its “party school” reputation usually get so intense because of out-of-towners; Gauchos as a whole aren’t stupid alcoholics and I really don’t appreciate being treated like one. I work hard in school and I worked my ass off to get accepted here. The second I mention I live on Del Playa to anyone outside of I.V., I’m instantly labeled an irresponsible alcoholic, so much so that I’ve come to putting my parents’ address on anything I want to seem professional for.
Now, I know I can’t change the way the whole world looks at Isla Vista, but my real problem is with the Isla Vista Foot Patrol. I’m not perfect, but I like to think of myself as a pretty responsible person. I’ve made some dumb choices here and there — sorry Blaine — but most of the time I’m pretty respectful. Since I transferred to UCSB last year and moved into I.V., I’ve really noticed something is wrong with the relationship between the IVFP and the students of Isla Vista.
Remember back in the day when your mom taught you things like: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all” and “If you give respect, you’ll receive it back?” Well, I’m not sure the IVFP ever learned these lessons. They are the absolute rudest police I have ever come across and they get away with it. I understand this is probably not what these people envisioned when they decided they wanted to become police officers. Giving out MIPs like eggs on Easter and dealing with massive amounts of drunk college kids every night of the week can get pretty annoying, but just because you are annoyed doesn’t mean it’s acceptable to act the way these officers have acted. Being in Isla Vista doesn’t mean we are drunk, and even if we are drunk it doesn’t warrant such rudeness and disrespect.
I personally have felt insulted by sexual comments made to me by the IVFP and I didn’t do anything about it. I regret it every time I have another similar encounter with them. I have asked a police officer to loosen his grip because he was hurting me and he refused because he assumed I was drunk and going to run (when I was standing still in my own driveway) and I ended up with a bruise on my arm. I have seen and heard students being physically and verbally abused by the IVFP and we never do anything about it because we are scared of getting that MIP or drunk in public ticket.
I want all of you Gauchos to know your rights and understand that disrespectful and sexual remarks are not acceptable just because they come from police officers; these inappropriate actions are actually reportable offenses. I want to encourage you, PLEASE, if you feel that you have been wronged by a police officer, ask for their name and make a report or else this abuse will continue to occur in Isla Vista. We need to find a happy medium of law enforcement’s protection and respect of the UCSB student community wherein the IVFP doesn’t assume we are guilty of a crime just because we are between the ages of 18 and 24 and walking down Del Playa after 10 p.m.