For 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, they patrol the UCSD campus to keep students safe. They are the UCSD police officers. In their navy blue uniforms, metal badges and patches that read “”University of California Police Department,”” these officers can be seen all over campus.
One of them is Jeff Cox, who has worked at the UCSD campus for 11 years. He is also a UCSD Revelle College alumnus who graduated with a political science degree.
UCSD has one police department office, located behind the Price Center near the cluster of ATMs. This police department takes care of all crime on campus and within a one-mile radius around the campus. Despite any misconceptions, the police officers in this office are not just hired employees of UCSD.
“”This is an actual police station,”” Cox said. “”We have all the same authority as the city police have. All the police officers here have been through the training at the police academy and are fully sworn police officers. Anything you can think of that a city police officer would do is what we would do. With any problems or domestic violence problems that occur on campus, we would be the ones they would come to, and we deal with it from there.””
The UCSD police office is a typical one with the difference being that it provides service mainly for UCSD students.
“”There are 28 sworn officers, including patrol sergeant, detective sergeants, training officer, motorcycle officer, chief and assistant chief,”” Cox said. “”There are also RSOs, part-time dispatchers, full-time dispatchers, and some student clerical staff working there.””
Dispatchers are the people who answer the phone calls, either when students call 911 or (858) 534-HELP. They are always in radio contact with the police officers around the campus so that in the event of an emergency, police officers can get to the crime scene quickly.
The UCSD police department also offers other services.
“”We provide a full range of police services, from investigating traffic collisions, writing traffic tickets, writing traffic citations all the way on to crime against people and crimes against property,”” Cox said.
When a student calls 911 on campus, the call immediately connects to the dispatchers inside this police office. Computer screens display the exact location from which the phone call is made, and the police officers are dispatched to respond to these phone calls. The dispatchers also reply to the phone calls from the yellow call boxes that are all over campus. These yellow boxes are intended for use when there is an emergency, a crime in progress, or if a student needs to call for an escort home.
The Campus Security Officer escort program is also affiliated with the police department. This program is designed so that students will not have to risk walking home alone at night. Students can just call (858) 534-WALK or approach a CSO who is not with another student in order to get a CSO escort. They are usually in uniforms that distinguish them. This service is available during night hours.
Cox strongly advised against females walking alone at night.
“”Walk in groups, walk in well-lit areas, and use the escort service because that is what it’s there for,”” Cox said. “”Don’t walk alone at night. It is not a good thing.””
The UCSD police officers also patrol around the campus, both on foot and in cars.
“”We do routine patrols through the buildings and vehicle patrols through the roadways,”” Cox said. “”There are also Residential Security Officers, which are not sworn in as policemen, who patrol the dormitories during nighttime hours only. One can distinguish these officers because they wear a patch that says RSO. They also do not have the guns and batons that other officers will have.””
The most common reason students go into the police office is to report crimes. According to Cox, the police station typically receives up to 70 -100 calls per day, and an additional 70-100 students go in the office. Most students report missing backpacks, keys or other valuables. The more extreme cases are when vehicles are stolen. In addition, students also return lost items to this office. Fingerprinting service are also offered.
“”This is a safe campus, but crime does happen,”” Cox said. “”We get a lot of crime against property. A lot of times people leave their backpack unattended for a few minutes, but that is all it takes for it to be stolen. We get one or two rapes reported in a year, but obviously more go unreported. If a suspect is known, it would be just like if it happened in the city. Arrests will be, and have been made. The victim will be taken down to the hospital.””
Cox also recommended some safety precautions.
“”Don’t walk alone at night,”” he said. “”If you see something suspicious, don’t hesitate to call us. Even if it turns out to be nothing, we would rather go out there and have it to be nothing. Any suspicious people you see on campus, give us a call. Make sure you always lock your doors at night, on or off campus. That’s a big thing where people go into dorms and steal things. It is a safe environment, but crime does happen. Everyone should take precautions.””
In addition, Cox said there is always a chance that many criminals see the campus as a good opportunity to commit a crime because there are a lot of cars concentrated in small areas. Students should always lock their cars, and if possible, use devices such as the Club and an alarm system in their cars and never leave valuables in the car.
The police station is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to ensure student safety. In the event of an emergency, students can use the yellow call boxes to ask the dispatchers for help, or call 911. For issues that are not emergencies, call (858) 534-HELP.