Recent groping incidents prompt larger cadet presence

By Joe Dargan

The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department placed a cadet, a non-sworn peace officer with the Los Angeles Community College District, in East Los Angeles College’s library full time.

The placement of a full-time cadet follows recent groping events.

On Sept. 5, a male student was arrested for groping a female student in the library and returned on Sept. 14 to victimize someone else.

Before October, cadets would patrol the library based on availability, said Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy Elias, who’s in charge of the cadet program at ELAC.

She said that cadets were always present in the library, and now with a recent cadet graduation, they have enough manpower to place a cadet there full time.

Like the bookstore and the fiscal office, the library is now a permanent post for cadets.

Librarian Antonio Ng said when an incident occurred in the library in the past, he would have to look around hoping to find a cadet, but that’s something he doesn’t have to worry about anymore.

“I come in to work the 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. shift, and someone else is going to come in after me and stay until the library closes. If a violent incident did erupt, I would try my best to ensure the safety of those around me,” Cadet Rudy Hinojosa said.

Unlike fully trained, sworn-in officers, Hinojosa is only equipped with a walkie-talkie.

He says a majority of incidences that take place on campus are reported by phone, and that he hasn’t personally seen anything out of the ordinary, but he’ll be ready if something happens.

Deputy Elias said a cadet’s main job is to keep an eye out for any issues and to call it in if a problem arises.

“If something is happening, they should walk up and say ‘Hey stop,’ and at the same time be on their radios. If it’s an emergency and we say ‘get hands on,’ then that’s just what it’s going to have to be,” Elias said.

Elias is the officer who arrested the groper.

She said that he has since been expelled from ELAC.

Some students like the idea of having a cadet around, but won’t depend on that.

“I feel safe and I haven’t personally gotten in any type of danger, but I feel like there is a lot of people that see things and act like they didn’t. If someone is in danger, it’s better to do something or try and get someone to help instead of ignoring it,” engineering student Isabell Flores said.

Other students were not too thrilled about the extended presence of the cadets.

“The more I see sheriffs, police cruisers and cadets around campus, it’s more intimidating to me than providing a feeling of safety,” business student Anthony Ramirez said.

The cadets will be patrolling the library full time until further notice.

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