Sheriff’s Department improve school safety

By Stephanie Garibay

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department held a town hall meeting on Feb. 18 to discuss how satisfied everyone on campus is with their service.

The Community Oriented Policing survey conducted from November 10-January 9 received a total of 1,389 responses from students, faculty and staff.

The Community College Bureau Captain Cheryl Newman-Tarwater said the campus-wide survey aimed at figuring out whether or not everyone is satisfied with the Sheriff Department’s service and how safe people feel on campus.

The results show that the majority of everyone who took the survey feel quite safe. Only five percent feel slightly safe and four percent don’t feel safe at all.

Most of the people who took the survey feel quite safe on the East Los Angeles College campus.

Crime in ELAC  stayed relatively low in 2014 compared to 2013.

There were zero homicides and rapes in both 2013 and 2014. The only numbers ELAC saw in increase were in aggravated assaults, vehicle burglary, and grand theft auto.

“One crime is too many, but considering the size of this campus the numbers are relatively low,” Newman-Tarwater said.

Crime at ELAC went down 19 percent in 2014.

The majority of people voted that their primary concern with criminal activity on campus is thefts.

One of the main theft issues the sheriff’s department deals with on campus is bike theft.

Of all the colleges in the LACCD, LA Trade Tech has the highest number of bike theft. ELAC comes in second.

“The best locks you could get are the U-locks. Out of all the bike theft we’ve seen since I’ve been here, only one of them had the U-lock on it,” Newman-Tarwater said.

Although the Sheriff’s department deals with many issues, the number one issue people on campus want to see solved, according to the survey, is traffic.

“We hire extra personnel for the first week of school since it’s the busiest. We do the best we can, but we probably do need to work on it a little more,” Team Leader Bill Dunkin said.

Some people addressed their concerns with how much the sheriff’s are actually involved in trying to fix the traffic problem.

“I always see sheriffs and Monterey Park PD giving tickets to students, but when you actually need them they’re not there,” Staff member at East Los Angeles College Anna Salazar said.

“We are going to have to make sure that the Monterey Park PD is on board with us,” Lieutenant M. Mitchell said.

“Officer Silverman, the motorcycle officer you see around campus, and I will be working on a plan to fix the traffic issue,” Dunkin said.

Some students addressed their concern with how long cadets and sheriffs take to respond to a call. Some have even experienced waiting longer than 20 minutes.

One of the reasons why it might take so long for them to respond to a call, according to Captain Newman-Tarwater is because deputies, security officers and sheriffs all have different roles.

“Cadets are student workers. Security officers are the eyes and ears for the campus. Some things they could do, but for other things you really want a deputy there,” Newman-Tarwater said.

Other issues addressed in the COP survey include concerns with nuisance activity on campus. Smoking was the primary concern for 32.48 percent who voted, 21.23 percent said classroom disruptions, 19.67 percent said transients/ non-students roaming around campus, 10.43 percent said gangs and 4.12 percent said narcotics.

The survey results also revealed that the majority of those who took the survey, 46.90 percent, are satisfied with the services provided by the sheriff’s department.

“I advise all students to keep the sheriff’s departments’ phone number on speed dial in case anything happens or use the emergency blue phones all around campus. Of course in an emergency dial 911,” Lieutenant Mitchell said.

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