By Terry Bui
East Los Angeles College (ELAC) has many cadets and sheriffs patrolling its campus, but South Gate’s campus only has a handful.
In the few months that I have been attending classes at South Gate I have only witnessed one day where a cadet had been patrolling the parking lot giving out tickets, and have only seen two occupied patrol cars outside of the main building.
I hardly believe that is enough, when at the main campus an average of two or three cadets can be seen patrolling the parking structure in the center of campus. Even while walking across campus spotting a cadet is a simple task of looking to your left or right. While walking across campus I am able to spot cadets driving around about once every minute. I actually feel safe at the main campus.
Don’t get me wrong, the South Gate campus is not even in the same league when it comes to size as the main campus, but I don’t believe that is a reason for its parking lot to be unattended. Our main parking lot is almost always full of cars but seldom are there any people around. This is the perfect setting for a thief to run amok.
Last Thursday as I sat in my car for about an hour around 5 p.m., when the sun was already descending, I did not witness a single cadet walking around to make sure everything was safe. This is why I no longer believe that it is simply my timing as to why I never see any patrols around campus.
Upon speaking to two officers who patrol the campus, they were unable to ease my feelings of discomfort. They simply attempted to reassure me with “we got it under control” and “our response time is extremely fast.” Though I understand the points they were attempting to convey, and also the rigorous demands of officers and cadets who patrol the school, their overall attitude while speaking to them appeared overly care-free for such a serious question.
As always money is always a major factor when it comes to acquiring more workers in any situation. School security is no exception as one officer said “[it is] always better to have more personnel, but more personnel requires more money.” By understanding that ELAC’s budget is tight, it is easy to understand why it is not plausible to ask our school to provide more money to acquire more officers or cadets for the Southgate campus. Every student and faculty member who attends South Gate should ask that we utilize the little assets which we currently have more efficiently.
Ultimately there is no full-proof way to protect our vehicles and the contents within them, but improvements should be made in the scheduling of cadets to take a few more brief strolls through the parking lot, especially as the sun begins to set. Not simply looking for cars to give tickets to, but to look for any suspicious activity. South Gate’s campus is not nearly as safe as its main campus counterpart.
After speaking to the officers and learning a few things, I am compelled to offer this advice to students and faculty. In case of emergency or to report suspicious activity please contact the schools sheriff station directly. Calling 911 will result in a long wait before anyone is dispatched to your location. ELAC’s main campus sheriff’s station phone number is (323) 265-8800 and Southgate’s is (323) 357-6222. Also, if you ride a bicycle to school, please invest in stronger chains, as cheaper priced chains are often inferior and can easily been cut apart in a matter of seconds.