It’s hard to believe that summer is already over. It feels like we just finished the graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2011 and now it’s time to welcome the class of 2015. For those of you returning to UCSB for another action-packed year (of, ah, studying?), today’s article is mostly a rehash of the basic rules for staying safe in Isla Vista. You can just skip to number six — that one’s a doozy!

For all of you who are here at UCSB for the first time, you are in for a real treat! Okay, not so much this article, but your time here at UCSB and Isla Vista. This has been home to me for the last 20 years and I have loved being here. This is a great place and you are going to be a part of some amazing times that will be remembered for the rest of your life. My goal with these articles is to help make sure that these times are remembered fondly by you and not discussed at a future parole hearing. Maybe that’s a bit extreme, but hopefully I can provide you with some tips to help make your time in I.V. and at UCSB safer and to help avoid those nasty tickets or unfortunate temporary lapses in judgment that always seem to happen just as the cop turns the corner.

As someone who spent time in Isla Vista — as a partier and as a cop — I have seen the best of the best and the worst of the wurst, or as I recall it, the drunk guy who ate a hot dog out of the gutter on Del Playa Drive. To this day, I do not believe that was relish on it.

Usually my article is based on questions that are either e-mailed to me, asked at Question Authority tables or just brought up while wandering around on patrol. The idea is that there has always been a strong lack of communication between the students and the cops. This is my way of trying to reach out and provide a way for people to ask those questions about the police, rules, laws, favorite load-out for Stockpile Hardcore Team Deathmatch, why they got that speeding ticket or anything they have seen with law enforcement that makes you go “Hmmm…” But for today, I will start off with the yearly kickoff of tips to help you have a good time in I.V. without getting in trouble. So, to get us going, here it is:

Keep your cups upside down while walking down DP. No, it is not the law, but it helps keep you from forgetting to dump out the beer and we cops totally ignore upside-down cups.

It may be a long night, but if you have to take a leak, find a bathroom! Trust me. Not a ticket I want to write, but regardless, it will still cost you some bucks. If you have to go, just bet yourself a hundred bucks you can make it to Super Cuca’s!

Stick with friends, especially if you have been drinking. It sucks that we contact someone who is drunk and there is no one there who is sober who can get them home. We would much rather have someone take you home than have you stick with us at the Motel Foot Patrol. We’ll leave the light off.

Stick with your friends! This is for the other half of you who ditch your drunk friend just because a cop is talking to them. Do you know how frustrating it is to ask someone who has been drinking where their friends are and they point to a tiny little dot about two blocks west running like he took track lessons from Wile E. Coyote? So much for having your friends take you home.

Don’t freaking drive! Seriously! After a night of partying, it takes five extra minutes to walk to Freebirds and you still get in a car? Way too many people could avoid a DUI by just walking to Freebirds. Just think of the gas you’ll save … and create.

If you do find yourself in the back of a the police car, do NOT lick the glass screen. It may taste like snozzberries, but it most certainly is not.

Those are just a few of the suggestions to help you have a safe time in Isla Vista. There are a ton more, but I will have to save those for the $0.99 ad-free pro-version available on the iPhone. Seriously, though, if you have questions or concerns, or even if you got a ticket and are not sure how to fight it, just e-mail or call me and I will do what I can to help you out. Don’t miss out on your chance to Question Authority!

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: or call UCSB PD at 893-3446.

Sgt. Mark Signa is an officer of the UCSB Police Dept.