By Brenda De La Cruz
Recent break-ins and vandalism at East Los Angeles College leave many worried about campus safety now that the Los Angeles Community College District and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will be cutting ties soon.
On Nov. 13, 2020 it was announced that the long-standing contract between LACCD and LASD would come to an end on Dec. 31. According to the press release by LACCD, a new temporary safety and security service contract for all nine college campuses is being sought, however, many are wondering when that will take place and through who. Campus News reached out to William H. Boyer, Director of Communications & External Relations for LACCD about future plans for a new contract.
“At some point in time soon, there will need to be a new contract, short-term, for District public safety needs that the Board will have to approve. Something will need to happen between now and Dec. 31,” Boyer said.
The recent break-ins were first reported by Vice President of Administrative Services, Myeshia Armstrong. Campus News reached out to her for comment on the vandalism but no response. Although the suspect was caught and arrested, what will happen once there is no police presence on campus? Another major inquiry surrounds the cadets who help patrol the college campuses. Cadets are students with hopes of one day joining law enforcement. The cadets work part-time as student workers on campuses. Their duties include safety services, escort services, law enforcement police desk operations, public relations, parking enforcement, and much more. A big concern is that cadets will no longer be able to continue with this role once LASD is no longer in contract with LACCD.
Tension between the public and law enforcement has been higher recently after a massive wave of protests occurred across the country. The protests demanded change over police brutality against minorities, specifically African-American men. The death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd on May 25 of this year sparked a huge uproar. Floyd, an African-American man, died at the hands of a white police officer. Protests led to many Americans asking for police to be defunded. It’s unknown how much of a factor these events played on the inability for both LACCD and LASD to come to an agreement on a new contract.
Campus News also spoke to Interim President, Dr. Alberto Roman, to discuss the recent break-ins on campus, as well as the future of campus safety. Roman assures employees and students that beginning January 2021, a new temporary security company will take over once LASD is no longer working with LACCD. A Request For Proposal will be the manner in which LACCD will seek a new contract for security on all nine campuses. RFP’s allow multiple companies to place bids for the contract, leaving the LACCD to decide which route they wish to take. This means even LASD can put in their own bid for the same contract that is coming to an end soon.
As far as campus cadets, Roman said cadets are employees of the LACCD and there is no interest in getting rid of their services.
“Our number one priority is the security of our employees, our students, and securing our buildings,” Roman said.