Police-SBCC program launches, hires students to patrol

PAVEL ZLATIN, Channels Staff

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By Spring 2017, students will be patrolling the neighborhoods around City College, giving warnings to noisy residents to help deal with ongoing issues of noise and partying in the area.

The Student Neighborhood Assistance Program, which has been in the works for over a year, is created and almost ready to launch. The program is a joint effort between the Santa Barbara Police Department, and City College, and mimics one that is established at Cal Poly.

For starting funds, City College contributed $103,000, which was matched by the police department.

The police department will hire City College students as well as students from other schools. They will train them to patrol the City College area to keep it peaceful and quiet. Noise complaints from residents living around the college remain a problem. The area is shared between students, who live in countless apartment units, and non-student residents.

“I think our involvement with this has been reaching out to the landlords in the neighborhood that surrounds the college, in attempt to try to get the students to inherit to certain standards of student conduct,” said Erik Fricke, director of campus security.

Since the program is run through police department, the college has no other impact other than providing some of the employees.

The students will be supervised by police officers, and training will mostly happen during the actual patrolling. At the time of the pilot, the average team will consist of four students and one supervisor from the police department.

The students will be working directly under the police department, said Sergeant Riley Harwood, community and media relations officer at the police department. The position is hourly, and every employee will be paid $22 an hour, and are expected to work 20 hours per week. Each candidate will be considered individually based on applications, interviews, additional information and background investigation, which includes medical history, polygraph exam and psychological evaluation.

“SNAP personnel are meant to warn and educate students,” Harwood said.

The students will be issuing warnings to violators without getting police officers involved. However, violators will only be warned once. If there is a second complaint, police will consider it as civil violation instead of a criminal offense, and levy fines to violators. The noise fine is $350, but will rise for each violation thereafter.

The students will also be able to conduct parking enforcement and tag abandoned vehicles. In addition, employees are expected to report all the major violations, if any.

The hiring for the program has started, and the application is open. Students can apply through police department. To be applicable, students must be over the age of 18 and have a California issued driver’s license. The applicants also should be enrolled at any local college or university with a minimum 2.0 GPA, and have no misdemeanor or felony convictions.

“Noise complaints are non-emergency,” Harwood said. “This program will let us reserve our resources for more prioritized calls like property damage or domestic violence.”

Noise complaints will also get a faster reaction, Harwood said.

The program is going to only cover the area close to the college, but has potential to spread to other parts of Santa Barbara, Harwood said.

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