MSJC Teacher Speaks Out About Campus Policing

Jim Davis, a history professor at Mt San Jacinto College, responds to the MSJC Police budget and cost thread on Ann Motte's blog , with ...

Jim Davis, a history professor at Mt San Jacinto College, responds to the MSJC Police budget and cost thread on Ann Motte's blog, with the commentary below.

He questions whether the existing police force is necessary, calls into further question their boasting of ticketing the residents of the city, when they're supposed to provide campus security...


The president/superintendent should create an ad hoc group to investigate the college police department. The group should begin with the assumption that an educational institution has its own special security needs, just like hospitals, or department stores, or businesses have specialized needs. We need to look around for functioning models at other colleges. Above all, the group should not shy away from bold recommendations, such as it might behoove us, for a variety of reasons, to replace the current department with something very different.

For many in the faculty, there are grave concerns about the cost, operating procedures, and effectiveness of our current police force. First of all, how much is all this costing, with the roving patrol cars and professional equipment? Are we willing to pay for this rather than more full-time faculty or construction of more buildings on both campuses? Second, does this police force, which resembles a Blackwater unit operating in Baghdad's green zone, really necessary for a campus, or would a more subdued, less costly security force really meet our needs? For example, would it be better to have casually clothed security people patrol regularly by golf cart, on bicycles, or on foot? These could be people who know the faculty, are there for small needs and emergencies, and maintain a reassuringly high profile on our campuses. We had such a force once, and I, for one, very much miss them. We have replaced them with people who are distant and boast of ticketing the general public on off-campus highways, have been rude to faculty and staff (on one occasion ticketing a classified employee $250 for playing her car stereo too loudly), and who join in police operations as far away as Lake Elsinore. How does all this serve higher education? Finally, if we do decide to keep the current force, there needs to be a civilian review board with real teeth that can investigate incidents and review tickets and fines through an appeal process.

Anyway, these are just a few thoughts. I commend you for your sustained interest in the police force, its costs, and its need at our college. They seemed to have entered our college through a grant and now have rooted themselves in the institution. It is time to shine a flood light on all this.

Please feel free to circulate and share this, if you think it helpful.


Jim Davis
I tend to agree with Jim and Ann on this issue. It's not the responsibility of the community college system to provide city policing. The state should redirect that money elsewhere, either at teachers and students, or refunding it back to the people.

The tons of comments that all of you readers posted on a previous article, "MSJC Police Jurisdiction", proves that the residents of Menifee are really hungry for law enforcement. Better policing was made into the top argument for cityhood.

Menifee's city council really needs to address law enforcement in this city. It needs to shift police responsibility away from MSJC, and on to the new city itself. If anything, MSJC needs only a campus security, not a full blown police department venturing into the city to ticket drivers for speeding.


Police 2497355597372485857

Post a Comment

  1. Campus security is a key element to a safe learing environment! Campus security is not a key element to our communities success. I think that the MSJC security (police) have stepped beyond the realm of there responsibilities when they are off campus issuing tickets for speeding etc. It would be one thing if the county agreed and provided financial support to the MSJC security to patrol Menifee. But to my knowledge the county does not and I would not support that. What gives them the right to select what area's of the law they choose to enforce? I know I have never voted for them to have any jurisdication in my community. I am all for police and the great and difficult jobs they do to protect communities. My frustration is in the cowboy type mentality that seems to plague small security patrols who assum the title of police officer as a badge of right not responsibility. I would emplore MSJC security to work with a by-thru-with objectivity when it comes to the Menifee community. Resentment will only tarnish the name of law enforcement so a few para-military folks can run around in cool cars.


    The Riverside County Sheriff is doing a great JOB. I wish we could get more officers to our area to ensure we are a safe community. The key to that is comminication, creadability, and reputation.

  2. I received my records request in the mail today. They provided me with the total cost of the police department from April 15, 2003 thru June 26, 2008.

    The total salary/benefit cost was 2,672,413 over 5 years. Dividing that by 5 would be at cost of 534,483 a year average in personnel cost.

    Other cost including equipment, supplies, rents and leases, communication services (Banning PD provides their dispatch services) etc cost a total of 774,457 over 5 years. Total expenses over 5 years and 2 months ran 3,446,870.

    Revenues for parking citations in 2006/2007 (what they provided me) was 49,663. Moving violations and towing charges (impound fees) were 46,614.

    So the basic cost of the MSJC Police Department is approximately $458,206 a year (expenses minus revenue).

    I was able to receive this information from the college in around 3 weeks. They were very helpful. I am curious if Ann will get the information that she states she has not been able to receive.

    In regards to the comments/letter by Mr.Jim Davis. It is a good thing to evaluate services provided by cities, counties and special districts such as MSJC. I was a bit suprised at the cost of the police department. I really believed that the cost would be much higher. I suspect that they are the lowest paid officers in the county. Providing security guards vs police officers would save money. However, the cost savings I suspect would not be very much. In Menifee Lakes, the security contract for one guard to patrol the lake and the community was around 80,000 a year. You have to ask yourself if spending a little more is worth the safety of the students and staff at the college. I think that they are worth it.

    Mr. Davis wants to provide an Ad Hoc committee on the police department. This may not be a bad idea. You should always evaluate the services provided. While we are at it, the college should also evaluate the instructors at the college and the cost. Instructors need to be evaluated by an outside panel to make sure that my tax dollars are paying for the best instructors and getting rid of the instructors that do not perform.

    Since public salaries are open under the FOIA, who wants to make a request to find out what instructors are paid that the college and what classes cost? Anybody can request to find out what the annual salary of an instructor at the college made last year by name.

  3. As a local young adult student i feel more threatend by the "campus" police, in their new Dodge Chargers. When pulled over for innocuous charge of not turning my blinker on soon enough, the officer's terse interchange with me, and his inference that i was most likely guilty of other charges made me feel like a criminal. Also when im on the menifee campus of MSJC, the only time i see police vehicles are when they are leaving campus. Also it seemed where ever i drove today i saw their flashy cars miles away from campus. In short they are rude, mean, and take themselves far too seriously

  4. The issue isn't the average cost over five years. The issue is the current annual cost of the PD. In 2003 when the department was established, there was minimum cost to the college because two officers were covered by a grant with the district paying for the chief only. Since then the PD has grown every year in personnel, new modular office space, cars, equipment, etc.

    You waited three weeks and they did not provide you with the current cost of the PD. The average cost over five years is meaningless.

  5. The parking fine amounts would likely triple if they were actually on campus! A neighbor of mine works for the sheriff. He has commented the MSJC cops show up on sheriff calls without ever being requested. Can anyone answer why the campus police leave the campus if they are not needed or called?

  6. Your right Ann, the numbers that I received were for a 5 year period. With that said, the cost is still very low considering you have a full police department. Be sure to post your numbers so we can compare.

    You and the rest of the board have the right to address the "scope" of the police department. If you have concerns about how the police operate, then you need to meet with the chief and discuss your concerns with him. From what I have heard, you have never visited the police department. Is this true or not? I would hope that if the staff has the same concerns, they would do the same thing (Davis).

    I find it funny that staff and board members are so concerned about the cost of the police force and their job when the college has wasted so many taxpayers dollars on lawsuits and purchasing buildings that cannot be used (Azusa Pacific). Could you let the viewers of this blog know what the status is on the Azusa Pacific building is and the amount that the college spent on the building and the legal cost to aquire it? Maybe Mr. Davis could give us a "history" lesson on the building.

  7. The deal with the MSJC Police is they are a joke law enforcement branch. they could not hack it in a real force so they turn to campus police or military govt security. I am sure some are good but most of them are TOOLS

  8. You get what you pay for in quality community based and properly trained man power in law enforcement.

  9. Is the entire police force transitioning to Chargers or is this a group of lone rangers? I saw them when I drove by the college yesterday.

    Davis' Blackwater remark was unnecessary but if this police force is not being properly supervised then that presents a huge problem and one that needs to be properly addressed.

  10. A request for the annual PD budget results in total costs for 5 years being provided. And then you divide it by 5 and assume an annual budget? Let me assure you the current annual budget is at least double what it was 5 years ago. The budget for the fiscal year that ended June 30 is a known fact that could easily be copied in about 10 seconds by a clerk. You are being played, think about it.

  11. Can anybody explain why the students are safer because the officers are off campus, maybe miles away? Is this rationale a secret like the budget?

  12. I would suggest Mr. Davis use the shared governance committee and have a good healthy discussion about the budget, policies and practices of the MSJC PD. If nobody does something constructive, it's just a bunch of talk, which the administration prefers and ignores.

  13. How many people on this post actually work at either of the Campus'? How many attend classes here? I work at both Campus' and the police are both campus' during work hours and patrol the are at night. If they see something on their way back and forth I'm sure they are going to do something about it. With that said the Police are on campus more that Ann Motte is. I don't even think she was at the last board meeting or two. I wasn't their either so I can't really talk about that. The Police are not a bunch of "Black Water" types. I've worked around them and they are truly professional and care about the campus, faculty, staff, students and the surrounding communities they travel through. The comment about them not being able to get jobs in other police forces is a cheap shot. Most of them have worked in other police forces and came here. Why, who cares. On poster said they were a student who had a "terse interchange" , give me a break 9 times out of 10 when we get pulled over we are innocent, Right? :} Thats enough from me. I just want to know what we pay Ann to miss meetings? Can that money be put to better use in funding student use. The board shouldn't get paid fro barely making meetings, they should forfeit any pay for missed meetings.

  14. Having lived at the Lakes for almost a year now and having worked in law enforcement for nearly 17 years before I retired, I often wondered why the campus police were stopping people near the fire station and on the west side of the freeway. I worked next to an area that also had a campus police department (in San Bernardino). My experience was often less than positive. The police agency was full of re-tread or second chance officers. These are officers who were fired from other agencies and needed a second chance in law enforcement so they went to the campus police. They also hired the applicants nobody else would and the performance and issues that arose displayed this. I am not saying this is the case with the Menifee campus police but past history shows campus police are often the last stop for officers. Most people aspiring to a law enforcement career do not want to go to work at a college campus.

  15. I will be first to willingly forfeit my $250 per month pay for any missed meeting(s). May-be all board members should do the same. Your comment is off topic.
    The discussion remains the actual PD inclusive current expenditures. If the district can provide a five year overview, Why can't they provide one year (2007/08) and the projected PD budget for 08/09? It should not be a secret.

  16. Yeah, the Sheriff has a much better quality police force right? Just like all the one's getting arrested lately for rape, sexual misconduct, theft, right? Just Like LAPD Rampart Right? Yeah these college guys are way out of control!!!! How dare they enforce the law!!! How dare they act like "REAL" cops!!! what a joke some of you people are.....LOL

  17. To Mr. 17 year retired cop.

    I am a 15 year veteran, who is still on the job (yes at a city)
    Not all Police Officers take the same career path you and I did. Not all cops want to work graveyard shifts and miss Christmas with thier families. God knows I've missed most of them. I regret that too.

    Not all College Cops are retired trying to make a little side money. Not all are rejects either. Not all City police and Sheriffs are the cream of the crop either. Lets' be fair here and stop generalizing about a department you probably have no real information about anyway.

    We all understand that they are cops too and have a job to do. If you really are a retired cop, why would you bad mouth another cop anyway? Don't the citizens do that enough anyway without you adding to the fray?? Disgracefull really.

  18. Ann, please explain how the campus police budget is not accessable to a board member like yourself? I find that hard to believe.

    Correct me if I am wrong but isn't the board the ultimate decision maker for everything affecting the district, including expenditures?

    If you are not satisfied with the 5year budget projection, make a motion at a board meeeting to direct staff to do a one year or two year projection. If the other board members agree, great.

    If the board decided in 2003 to start a police department, why did they? What was the motivation?

    State law allows school districts to form campus police agencies and the reason for civilian (unarmed) verses sworn officers (armed, police officers) is varied. What were the reasons cited by the board for doing so. If you could quote their reasons and not your own conjecture, I would appreciate it.

  19. Thank Mr.Davis!! Finally an excellent recommendation. My family had interaction with campus police who ticketed our daughter (miles away from campus) after she exited a turn lane with no traffic around --except college police who was 1/8 mile away. She exited the turn lane because her engine started acting up and while the car was running, she tried to get it to the side of the road instead of blocking the road in the turn lane. She explained this to college police and he said that he doesn't care what the reason is, and gave her a ticket anyway!

  20. I never talked about about any individual officer. But the facts are the facts. I am sure you work for the campus police and are posting anonymous. I was simply speaking about my past experience with campus police in general. A school police and a college police. Very little of my exeprience was positive. I do not begrudge any law officer from doing their job. But is it the campus police job to do traffic stops miles from the campus? Or even a half mile from the campus. Their job is the campus. Police the campus as you see fit. It was not my intention to insult anyone however most people do not know what a second chance officer is and how or why most, not all, officers end up as school police.

  21. It sounds to me like the officers at the college are real go-getters.

    They can't be worse than the sheriff deputies around here.

  22. One of the most important metrics in measuring police effectiveness is average response time. What happens to average response time for on campus incidents when the officers are miles away? What will the police say if they are late to the scene of a crime on campus? How will the administration justify that? The students are safer when the officers are closest-right?

  23. The college President can't produce the PD budget for last year to a Board member? Did the staff tell him it's unavailable even to him? Maybe he should se