MSJC Police Jurisdiction

An interesting discussion is developing on Ann Motte's blog regarding the Mt San Jacinto College...

MSJC PoliceAn interesting discussion is developing on Ann Motte's blog regarding the Mt San Jacinto College police, and whether or not they spending too much money on training exercises...

The MSJC police, along with the Riverside County Sheriff, CAL Fire, California Department of Forestry, American Medical Response, Mercy Air, and other volunteers, warned the public that many loud noises may result from their training exercise, to which Ann made the following comment...
Lots of your tax dollars at work here with the MSJC police department as lead player. At best, a public relations display.
That comment touched off a debate, criticizing Ann as being unsympathetic to the need for public safety.

To which Ann responded that MSJC is sorely in need of money just to provide an adequate education for its students, let alone public safety for the residents of Menifee.

And that brings me to these questions: Should the MSJC police use its funds to provide public safety to new City of Menifee? Is it the role of community colleges to provide policing to nearby residents? Or is state education money being used to address a problem that the Sheriff should be taking care of?

On the other hand, we saw what happened at Virginia Tech last year. There is definitely a need for safety and security at public schools. But how much are we going to spend on public safety versus public education?


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  1. No, we decided to become a city and it is time that we step up and pay for it. MSJC students should not have to fund for local residents safety, that is the responsibility of our worthless County Supervisors. I agree with Ann this is a publicity stunt and it stinks.

  2. I think it is a great that the campus has police and they help patrol the area. This idea that it is a waste of money is downright silly and Ann is wrong in not agreeing it is a good idea.

  3. I work at a Campus Police Department in San Diego County. The understanding between Campus Police and the local City Police is "you catch it, you clean it." The campus officers have jurisdiction on "an around" school property, but they also understand that their priority is what takes place on campus. I applaud MSJC PD for stepping up to help our community, however they are not staffed or funded to consistently patrol off-campus. The new City of Menifee should begin the steps to organize a City Police Department. DO NOT CONTRACT WITH THE COUNTY SHERIFF! Do it right the first time and create a City PD. Murrieta did it right and they have a great PD. Menifee should follow suit. If the city tries to save money and goes the cheap way now, they will never be able to fund a City PD in the future. Make it a priority and do it right from the beginning.

  4. Try this on for size...

    The new City of Menifee will not be staffing police, rather, we will spend our tax money on educating more of our children.

    I believe it is a waste of tax money and a publicity stunt to provide police services to the City of Menifee when we have budget cuts effecting our students. Let's spend that money on more teachers and students.

    Sound good now?

    What is the difference in argument? - NONE

    See how crazy that sounds if you put it in a different context?

    Lets' get real people.

  5. Just out of curiosity, is this training being paid for by means of a federal grant? There are certain federal grants that are earmarked for just this type of training operation.

  6. I have a few questions for the "campus" police officer.

    1. Some community colleges have full police departments, some have security guards. At what point does a college decide to have a police department? Enrollment, crimes on campus? Is there a point that it is required by the state?

    2. Where does the funding for a college police department come from?

    I am having trouble following the comments of Anon 10:13. I hope this person does not think that the city should not pay for a police department at all and should pay for a community college. The city is responsible for public safety, not paying for classes. The college is responsible for providing a quality education to the community. That might also require paying for a campus police department or security force to protect the campus if required by law.

    Having an "extra" police agency within the city of Menifee is a bonus to us residents, nothing else. It is no different if you live in a city that has a CHP office down the street. It is a bonus to that city to have extra officers in that city.

    I do not believe a grant is needed for this type of training. This type of training is conducted on a routine basis all around Southern California.

    While having a Menifee City Police department would be great, I think it is not possible due to the current tax base and the startup cost. I am sure that a new community substation will be going in right away once the city takes effect. I would imagine it will be were the new civic center is located.

  7. I think you missed my point. You see, Ann Motte would like to eliminate police and take thier budget money and apply it to more teachers.

    My point was that if you apply that same philosophy to the new city of menifee for instance, the following would happen:

    No police in menifee, but we would have more teachers for all our city schools.

    This doesn't make any sence. You have to look at the big picture. Having no public safety in exchange for more teachers is a rediculous proposal.

    They are mutually important, but neither should be eliminated to provide for the other. That was my point. Sorry for the confusion....

  8. In response to Anon at 11:34 -

    While it is true that this type of training is conducted on a routine basis all over the state, (in fact, all over the country), this type of training is frequently federally mandated training. As a result, federal grants are sometimes used to at least offset the cost of the training if not cover the cost entirely.

    In the event of a grant, while the dollars being spent would still be tax dollars, they would be tax dollars the federal government has set aside specifically for this type of training and would not be local tax dollars being used where they could be put to use elsewhere, i.e. for education, staffing, etc.

  9. That clears your comments up. I see what you were getting at now.

    Ann Motte does not support the campus police. I cannot get answered by her where the funding comes from and why a police department was started in the first place. If those questions are answered, then you can debate classes vs school police. If the budget for the police department comes from moneys earmarked by law only for safety on campuses, then it is a mute point to argue. If it comes from the same pot of money and a campus police department is not required by state law, then you have something to debate.

    She is also silent when asked about the empty Azusa Pacific University building. For those of you folks that do not know, Azusa Pacific University bought the property next to the college. The land is zoned for educational uses. They built a building to house evening classes for the region to provide 4 year and graduate degree programs to the region. MSJC did not have the money at the time to buy the land and build classrooms. During construction and after the bulding was built, MSJC took APU to court and was able to aquire the building thru eminent domain. One of the problems with the building is that it does not meet the building code requirements of a public school. They also had to take APU to court over the price of the building. Millions of dollars have been spent by MSJC for a building that has been sitting empty for several years. In addition, MSJC fought the building of Bell Mountain Middle School. Again, the school district had the money to buy the land and build a school, MSJC did not. I wish I knew how many tax dollars were wasted by MSJC in that fight. These are some of the examples of waste by the college board.

  10. The MSJC PD and the Azusa saga are completely different subjects except when it comes to wasted taxpayer money. MSJC could never agree on price because the State paid for grading and utilities on the site because it was in the MSJC master plan footprint for acquisition at a later date. They didn't wan't to pay twice. That was not a concern of the Elementary District when they secretly bought the site without consulting with MSJC. MSJC initiated eminent domaine on the remaing 30 acres prior to the Azusa purchase which was also done secretly without consulting MSJC. Then Azusa built the facilty???? Anyway MSJC paid about $2M in legal fees for a $10M project. But that has nothing to do with the MSJC PD whose budget is secret and it's cost/benefit is never questioned. Let's try to stay on one topic at a time.

  11. The state does not mandate a college PD. The Ed Code is posted on my website and addresses patrol by a campus PD for "owned college properties" and those areas "nearby the campus(es)". Patrol of "Menifee" is an over broad interpretation outside the state definition. The msjc PD is not funded by state categorical funds. The PD's expenses are not noted by the district in any one place on the public budget document. As trustee I have requested said info however administration has not disclosed it. There has been little disclosure to the board as to the total cost of the PD. The college is considered an under served district by the state (percent of students per 1,000 adult pop) and also has the lowest percent of full time faculty in the state. The mission of the cc colleges is to provide educational opportunity for students for transfer, work force training,etc. As trustee I have a fiduciary responsibility to oversee public dollars for that purpose. If no one knows the real costs,except administration and the PD, the value of trade off for student access cannot be determined. If the PD cost twice the current amount, would that be ok? Thank you for the comments/discussion.

  12. Again Ann Motte only wants to quote law that serves her own interest without being fair.

    MSJC Police have authority to enforce the law anywhere in the State of California. Here is the actual law section taken straight from the penal code:

    830.32. The following persons are peace officers whose authority
    extends to any place in the state for the purpose of performing their
    primary duty or when making an arrest pursuant to Section 836 as to
    any public offense with respect to which there is immediate danger to
    person or property, or of the escape of the perpetrator of that
    offense, or pursuant to Section 8597 or 8598 of the Government Code.
    Those peace officers may carry firearms only if authorized and under
    terms and conditions specified by their employing agency.
    (a) Members of a California Community College police department
    appointed pursuant to Section 72330 of the Education Code, if the
    primary duty of the police officer is the enforcement of the law as
    prescribed in Section 72330 of the Education Code.

    Last time I checked Menifee is in California.......

  13. Yes you are absolutely right. This has been tested in the Supreme Court as well as the State Appeals court. Case law is clear on this issue, College Police, University Police, and K-12 school Police all have state wide authority.

    "Near" campus for purposes of 72330 of the Education Code only applies to Jurisdiction. Jurisdiction means the area of responsibility for responding to or reporting of crime. It has nothing to do whatsoever with "Authority."

    They are two different things.

    A Deputy Sheriff from Riverside can arrest someone in San Diego if need be. And a School Police Officer from San Diego can arrest someone in Los Angeles if need be.

    That's the way it is folks. So don't pass one on the freeway thinking you're home free.....LOL

  14. So let me get this straight, you as a MSJC board member have requested from the administration a breakdown of the cost of the college police department and they have not complied? That tells me that there is a real lack of leadership at the college. I am going to request thru the FOIA a request for just that, a breakdown of the police budget. I am sure that they will respond......matter of fact, they have's the law!

  15. The issue is not authority to enforce the laws and jurisdiction. That's not in dispute by anybody that I know of. The issue is the cost/benefit when the cost/benefit is known and disclosed to the public, like the city up north that went bankrupt due to police/fire costs. Why should MSCJ provide law enforcement services to the City of Menifee when it's the City's responsible to provide those services to MSJC? Can anybody answer the question?

  16. Let's address the training that is taking place this Sunday and the comments that Ann made regarding the exercise.

    1. If God forbid something "bad" such as a shooter or bombing at MSJC happended, do you think that for one second Ann Motte would stand by the police chief and his officers. I suspect she would be the first to hold him responsible, and she should if the chief did not promote this kind of training.

    2. This type of training is valuable to all our local agencies, not just MSJC. I expect them to conduct this type of training. It is a good use of my tax dollars.

    3. Ann, just curious, have you ever visited the MSJC police station or sat down and met with the chief one on one? I bet he would be happy to discuss the exercise, mission of your college police department and the budget.

    4. Since you are unaware of the functions of your police agency, maybe you should schedule a ride along with them. Maybe you should show up to the drill on Sunday to observe what training is taking place and listen the the after action review that will take place following the drill. You may learn something.

    5. Have you asked the police chief to provide you with crime stats on the campus? What were the crime stats before and after the arrival of the police department?

    6. You were on the board when a vote was taken to form a police department. How did you vote? Yes or No?

  17. Hey, to the guy that thinks he can get the MSJC PD budget from the college--good luck. If you make a legal request they have 10 days to respond and then you can sue them at your own expense. Keep us posted. Get familiar with GC 6250 et. set., the California Public Records Act, you are going to need it.

  18. If Ann can't get the MSJC PD budget from the College President I doubt she can get it from the PD chief. I thought PDs were big on the chain of command.

  19. "Why should MSCJ provide law enforcement services to the City of Menifee when it's the City's responsible to provide those services to MSJC? Can anybody answer the question?"

    They do not provide service to Menifee directly. There responsible to the college and streets right around the college. That is what the code says. They are on duty when the campus is occupied with students. They do provide automatic aid to other law enforcement agencies for high priority calls. No different then Murrieta Police will respond into parts of Menifee to assist on high priority calls. If and when the City of Menifee forms its own police agency vs. contracting with the RSO, you can bet that the Menifee Police department will respond into other jurisdictions for assistance.

    Remember also that the Perris High School district also has it's own police. Most people do not know that. They contract with the RSO to have at least one officer assigned for law enforcement and student safety at Paloma and Perris HS. That is paid for by the school. There responsible for the school, however if a high priority call goes down in a neighborhood near the campus or an officer needs backup ASAP, they respond. Some high school districts in Southern California have full blown departments like Santa Ana. They do the same thing as MSJC police. Patrol the schools and ajoining streets.

    Remember, the college board voted 5 years ago to form a police department for the safety of the students and staff on that campus.

  20. Good luck on your public records request.

    Of course I am aware that the msjc PD have state wide authority as certified police officers, just as any city or county PD, however the charge of the college PD is oversight of msjc college properties and "nearby the campus(es)" as the code states. May-be it would be less expensive and less liability for msjc to contract with the county for services. But then one would have to compare costs, and those have not been disclosed.

  21. While I may not get a response or run into roadblocks, you can bet that I will be at the board meeting in the very near future to make sure that my concerns are on the public record. I bet the Press Enterprise may be interested in giving it a shot. Most large newspapers have a staff and legal department just for these things. They can also interview Ann Motte and she can explain how the administration refuses to give this to her considering she is an elected official.

    While I am not impressed at all with Ann Motte, I will say that if this is true and the administration is not responding to her request, that needs to be investigated. I may be a thorn in her side right now, but any public agency or organization has to respond to our elected officials when they make a request unless that request is not legal.

  22. Trustee Motte states that the police budget is a secret. The truth is that it is not a secret at all. you see police officers are "classified employees" as such they are listed together with all classified employees under the adopted budget. The adopted budget is published for viewing on the colleges own website. Go look for yourselves.

    Here are the real numbers for 07/08..

    Acedemic salaries top 22 Million dollars. (That means instructors)

    Classified salaries top just over 12 Million. (those are all the worker bees, including police).

    Do the math. All classified employees together are less than half the cost of instructors.

    I don't think "police" are what is hurting the budget.

  23. Good God People, MSJC Police have a total of 12 employees.

    5 cops
    5 security officers
    1 secretary
    1 parking coordinator

    They have more janitors at MSJC than cops!!!!!

    WOW! Looks like we're breaking the bank here with "public safety"...LOL...what an idiot.

    What, do you actually think they have some secret budget in place? For what? A secret 2,000 man police force that is covertly patrolling your campuses and Menifee with stealth bombers and tanks at the ready? LMAO>.......

    Are you kidding me? 5 actual police officers protecting over 24,000 students? Sears can't get by on that few security officers. Good God woman shut your pie hole already will ya? This is already gonna get you un-elected next go around.

    How much of the $12 million dollar budget for classified employees do you think the 12 person "secret" police force is actually eating up lady?

  24. If you look at the MSJC PD budget remember to include the patrol cars, facilitiy costs, comunications, equipment, fringe benefits for the 12 employes, insurance, etc. Lets look at everything-right?

  25. Ann should go on a ride-along? Would that be through the parking lot or on general patrol of the community? The issue is not how they do it, it's where they do it and at what cost/benefit to the students.

  26. I am not a Ann Motte conservative supporter, however, the Menifee Campus does not have 24k students. It has no reason to have a budget for more than 3 officers and the rest of them rent-a-cops survillance. Get a grip folks if something big went down not even the local sheriff could assist. Put the money in the class-room for the students. Even though most comments are anonymous, please respect one another and refrain from name calling and demoralizing remarks. We can disagree polititly and argue on the points, but personal attacks makes everyone a looser. But I do like the energy, be creative without offensive.

  27. I have been tempted on many occasions to ask the college why their officers are not patrolling the college campus, as I always see them patrolling many miles outside the campus. How would they be able to stop crime from occurring on the campus college if they are miles away?

  28. Humm. I would like to know how many tickets they write and criminals they catch at the campus compared to the surrounding areas. This will tell us whether the college is getting what they pay for or simply providing the City of Menifee a free service at the expense of their students.

  29. If a campus cop writes a ticket for speeding on Bradley Rd. Where does the money for the fine go to...the county or the school?

  30. WARNING: A lot of what I am writing is being done from a “devil’s advocate” point of view. None of the things I’m writing are intended to get anybody riled up and they aren’t intended to offend anybody. They don’t even necessarily parallel my personal views. I’m only hoping to provide answers to some questions that have been posted or at least provide some sense of understanding about some misconceptions.

    There have been a lot of valid points brought up in this discussion and the other discussion about the MSJC Police Department the last few days. But it appears that people have sort of lost sight of what started these debates in the first place. What started the debate in the first place was Ann Motte’s comment about the training exercise scheduled for June 15. Steve quoted her comment in his post so I won’t quote it here again. That quote is directly from her web site, to which Steve has also provided a link.

    I’m hoping this was mostly an uninformed comment on Ann’s part and that she isn’t aware of certain state and federal training requirements for emergency personnel. I don’t know if the poster that brought up the federal grants works in law enforcement or not, but I do. In fact, it’s because I work in law enforcement that I first contacted Steve about being a contributor for Menifee 24/7. In any event, that person could very well be correct. It could also simply be that this training is being conducted as part of the annual training requirements for each of the agencies involved, which would have already been budgeted for by each of those agencies. Even if it isn’t being paid for with grant money, this training is not merely “a public relations display” and it certainly isn’t a waste of tax dollars. And I highly doubt MSJC is picking up the tab for the entire training exercise.

    In Steve’s post, he also asked several questions, which has sparked even more debate. One of those questions is whether or not MSJC police should be using its funds to provide public safety services to the City of Menifee. There isn’t a simple answer to this particular question and I could debate either side of the argument long enough to bore a person to tears (much like this post is probably starting to bore most of you to tears). While it is true that a peace officer’s powers are extended throughout the state, where it starts to get confusing is when their actual jurisdictional boundaries come into question. In other words, what area is the department actually responsible for and provided funds for?

    The fact that peace officers’ authority is extended statewide does not necessarily mean they should in the eyes of whoever is providing their funding. EXAMPLE: an officer from Big City might pull over a driver in Little City for a moving violation. There would be nothing wrong with that legally. But if one or more officers from Big City Police Department all of a sudden start writing tickets or making contacts with citizens in Little City on a routine basis, I’m sure the city managers and citizens of Big City would take issue with that. The Big City Police Department is not being funded to enforce the law in Little City.

    It gets even more confusing when you have a police agency within the jurisdiction of another agency, as we have with MSJC. Ann stated in her post at 3:13 on June 10th that “Patrol of ‘Menifee’ is an over broad interpretation outside the state definition.” Please tell us where the State has defined “nearby the campus(es)”. While not always the case, school jurisdictions are typically agreed upon between the two governing bodies that are responsible for providing funds for each agency as well as the agencies themselves. If that is the case with MSJC PD, the agreement would have been most likely been made between the county, the sheriff’s department, the college district and the police department. So just because the Education Code says “nearby the campus(es)”, it doesn’t necessarily mean in the immediate vicinity.

    So basically, the answer to Steve’s first question depends on where the jurisdiction boundaries have been defined. If they are providing routine services outside the agreed upon boundaries, then the college district has a legitimate complaint and the MSJC Police Department should not be using its funds to provide services to Menifee. If they are staying within their boundaries, then the college district currently doesn’t have a leg to stand on and they may want to re-define the jurisdiction boundaries.

    The answer to Steve’s second question, regarding whether it’s the role of community colleges to provide policing services to nearby residents is a bit easier. Again, I could debate both sides of the argument, but ultimately the answer is no. The role of community colleges is to provide an education. Enforcing the law should be left to the primary agency responsible for the area where the college is located. I’ve seen this mentioned in other posts around the site and have even commented on it myself – with cityhood on the horizon, we will see an increased law enforcement presence one way or another. And folks, please don’t start debating whether Menifee should have its own police department or contract with the sheriff’s department. If we want to have that debate, let me know. I will be more than happy to post the pros and cons (from my point of view) of each option under a new topic and we can debate on it there.

    In order to answer Steve’s last question, I think we need to first ask ourselves if a problem existed before the formation of the police department and whether or not the problem has been resolved or at least controlled since forming the department. Of course, we always run the risk of another Virginia Tech incident, or a Columbine High School incident, or Santana High School incident, so it isn’t a bad idea to have the law enforcement presence as a precaution.

    Several others have asked questions or made comments throughout this debate as well. One of the questions that pops into my head is one that was asked most recently. An anonymous poster asked where the money for a fine from a ticket goes, the county or the school. I'll answer on the presumption that Bradley Rd. is within their recognized jurisdiction. It depends on the agreement between the college and the county. And when we incorporate on October 1st, it will most likely be an agreement between the college and the city. There are many ways it could work, but I’m sure everybody, including the state, gets a cut of the money. And if they are out of their jurisdiction, then I honestly don't know. But I can find out.

    Well, I hope I’ve answered some questions satisfactorily. If not, then I hope haven’t literally bored everybody to tears.

  31. Thankyou Tod for explaining things in a calm, rational and balanced way. You asked where the PD funds come from. Most of it comes from property taxes within college boundries, State apportionment and student fees, the general fund of the District. Perhaps more importantly you asked what are they being funded to do? According to the PD website their mission, in part, is to provide a safe and secure educational environment. What's missing from all this banter are the facts and the public policy and practices of the MSJC PD. The PD should explain what they do and why they do it and disclose their budget,which after all is public. The PD should explain the benefit to students of patrolling off campus.

    My personal uninformed opinion is that the educational environment is more safe and secure when the police are on campus, but I would like to hear the counter argument from the PD. I wonder what the students think.

  32. The picture on Steve's orginal post has a lot to do with this discussion. If the MSJC police stayed on campus they wouldn't need patrol cars and there would be fewer police needed. They could use golf carts to patrol and just maybe they wouldn't need to be sworn officers too. Patrolling off campus is key to the survival of the PD, so it may not be a good idea to ask them to justify this practice.

    The best way to serve students is to add more class sections. Just ask the students that can't get classes.

  33. Thankyou Todd for framing the debate on facts and reason. You asked if a problem existed before the formation of the MSJC PD? The precipitating event was a bomb threat. The police responded by driving their patol cars on walkways ordering an evacuation on bull horns. The college President was very upset. The PD chief basically said the police are going to do what the police are going to do. The college can spin it another way but they can't dispute these facts.

    And how ironic is this discussion about Menifee Campus police considering the bomb threat occured at the San Jacinto Campus.