Although Cuesta squad cars say “Campus Police” their services don’t stop at the border of campus. Cuesta and Cal Poly have been working with municipal police in DUI check point operations and in writing up citations.
At first, one might think that the municipalities are broke and are in need of assistance from wherever they can get it. But, the real reason for this type of co-op operations with SLOPD and campus police is actually a legitimate form of police work.
Under California state law, campus police have been empowered to uphold, regulate and enforce the law on and off campus.
These laws consist of federal, state and local laws, as well as university regulations, according to afd.calpoly.edu’s police and service web site. Walk into any campus or even municipal police department in SLO County and you’ll more than likely find a poster or piece of paper on a wall somewhere that says “Avoid the 14.” This displays 14 badges of all the county’s law enforcement agencies. There are multiple branches of law enforcement in just SLO County alone.
This may seem like pointless overkill for such a low populated county. But according to Sgt. Ron Schram of Cuesta’s campus police department, it is quite necessary.
“Because of scheduling conflicts and nonparticipants, law enforcement in the area is not very large.” There have also been penal codes put in place by the state to allow campus police the same enforcement powers as municipal police. The county has also given grants to state police forces for a separate DUI task force and campus police are a part of this task force, so this is another reason why there have been campus police or helping out at DUI check points.
Sargent Ron Schram also said that “Campus police also have the authority to write tickets out on the highway and help out the highway patrol, sheriff and other law enforcement.”
The idea of this amalgam task force of police and campus police working together, has hit different cords with students on campus at Cuesta. Jacy Falsey, a third year general education student at Cuesta says that “I have not heard of this before and it is kind of odd. I do not think they need to be working together and involved with off campus enforcement.”
Some students on campus have also noticed the odd presence of municipal and campus police cooperative tactics and operations around and off campus. Aidan Kassel, a first year history major said that, “I have seen campus police and municipal police on campus over use their authority to regulate student behavior.”
Though this may seem a little ridiculous and unnecessary, to students, according to Schram; “We’re just trying to make sure that college students are responsible, safe and sober when out on the roads, on and off campus.”