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...

Ann:

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.

Sincerely,

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.

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  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.

    PLEASE STAY ON CAMPUS UNLESS YOU ARE REQUESTED BY NAME TO RESPOND TO AN EMERGENCY!!!

    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.

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  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.

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  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

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  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.

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  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?

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  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.

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  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

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

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  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.

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  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.

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  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?

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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

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  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.

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  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.

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  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!

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  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.

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  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.

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  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?

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  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 send out a memo to everybody and offer a reward to the person who can find it. Does the administrator of the PD [VP of HR] have it? The answer to this question is yes or no. And if the answer is no would't that be strange.

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  24. Has anyone noticed that nobody obeys the speed limits on the roads around the campus. Don't speed and you won't get a ticket. I haven't heard anyone here complain that there car was broken into, stolen, or they were beaten and robbed lately. I guess the campus police are doing their job.

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  25. MY RUB: No matter if they are re-treads, 2nd rate, or cream of the crop getting into law enforcement, they are FIRST AND MOST IMPORTANT EMBASSADORS of the COMMUNITY THEY CLAIM TO SUPPORT. Being a Police Officer is a tuff job and you see the worst of hummanity however that is not an excuse to be abusive or less than civil to the people who pay for your services. I wish all would consider that.

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  26. to the active police officer:

    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.

    I do not agree that the retired officer was bad mouthing. It was his opinion and just that. I am bothered that you refer to the "bad mouth another cop" statement. That is a problem in itself. That cops will stay quite and not divulge any secrets. It takes a real person to stand up and say these are apples and these are oranges.
    I become jaded toward a small security detail who run around town acting as our community police department when I did not ask or vote for it. Please if you see a felony committed stop, but do not abuse you commute as a way to generate funds or a name for your self..

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  27. I work at the court in Temecula. A college officer was also arrested for rape in 2007. Do not bad mouth the Sheriffs department. The sheriff has over 2000 employees which makes it much easier for bad apples to fall through the cracks. How many people does the college have? Ten? They should be able to screen their people better. I lost alot of confidence in the campus police when I heard about this officer getting arrested and charged with rape.

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  28. Okay. When reading these posts, it is completely evident who the college police are, even though they are posting as anonymous.

    I heard from deputies as well that college police are showing up unannounced at their calls. Absolutely unacceptable.

    Someone needs to initiate an investigation into the department. I hope administrators of the college are reading these posts.

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  29. There is nobody home in the MSJC abministration. They fire the strong and promote the weak. The prevailing mindset is "wait to be told what to do". This is not a case of bad management, it's a case of NO management. The problem is not the PD, it's the management of the scope, policies and practices of the PD with a student centered perspective.

    And when a board member becomes interested they won't even give up the budget. Are we to believe that the president, the VP of business, the PIO, the administrator of the PD, the police chief, the dean of business, the accountants and the clerks can't find the budget?

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  30. Has the college provided a cost breakdown on a per year basis for the PD yet?

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  31. Has anyone seen the year to year cost of the PD yet?

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  32. Today, two college police vehicles were staged away from the college at a stop sign waiting for the few cars that drive to run a stop sign. Tonight, on my way home from work, college police exited the Target parking lot and drove towards Scott road, not pausing to police the college. WHY does the college hire them anyway if they do NOT police the college?????

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  33. Per the msjc "president's office" today, the information I requested concerning the PD budget will be "mailed out" to me on July 11th. My request was made June 30th, so it appears the figures were not readily available. Why not?

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  34. Ann, once again you are a board member! Why do you not have immrdiate access to this information? You were lected by the citizens to oversee this district and from your own comments, seem to be left out.

    Can you please comment on the last post? Why are college police vehicles patrolling the Target shopping center and watching intersections away from the campus instead of patrolling the campus?

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  35. I do not know the answer to the question. The PD budget is not confidential information and should be readily available on a 1-2 page categorized budget sheet. As to the PD being at the Target center, I cannot comment. Administration has allowed the PD to set their own patrol boundaries without discussion/input from the board. There has been no opportunity to explore the issue in a board forum discussion.

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  36. I have been reading some very disturbing comments regarding the campus police. A college officer was arrested for rape? Can anyone confirm this? It seems from the comments posted here the college police are running amuck with little or no accountability. Who is running the show over there?

    In city environment if a city council member had a question abouth the budget the member would have an answer immediately. A college board member, who is the same as a city council member for the college district, should not have to wait and should not be wondering what their own police department is doing.

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  37. I agree that an elected board member should have immediate access to college information no different than a city council member. At msjc, two board members control institutional direction/discussion; Kadow from Banning, and Sparkman from Temecula, with Schlange from Hemet an assured vote. Groupthink is the norm and questions are not welcomed.

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  38. A big part of being in Law Enforcement (which is by the way, a Public Servant), is to have a postive image and good public relation skills with the general public. Campus Police are being paid to protect the faculty and students on campus, not pull over a vehicle miles from the college for a minor moving violation. We have the Sheriff's Department and CHP for those duties. Put the majority of the campus police on foot patrols, bicycles, or a golf cart, keep them on campus, so they can be more visable, be proactive with everyone on campus, and set examples that everyone would appreciate. Crime would go down if the "bad guy" knew that campus police were on the campus, and not miles away giving a speeding ticket. The current system is obviously not working. A lot of people, in fact the majority of people, have a negative image of these police officers, and have little or nor respect for there actions. This is no way to run a campus police service, and changes are needed. Maybe a total reorganization, starting at the top (Chief), and have more training, and set standards and hold the officers accountable for their actions. Again, they are there to protect everyone on campus, not the entire Menifee Valley.

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  39. The requested 07/08 PD budget/actual was received in my mailbox over the weekend. The total PD budget inclusive (salary, OT, benefits,equipment, contracts, uniforms, fuel, office, conference, maintenance/repairs, recruitment, xerox, misc.) was $1,072,831.

    The actual expense for 07/01/07 through 07/08/08 was $920,082 with $723,094 for salaries/benefits.

    The department consists of 7 safety officers, 7 police officers, 1 clerk, 1 secretary, 5 student workers, and 2 substitutes each, police/safety.

    The msjc PD patrols approximately 150 acres of campus properties, or about 1/4 square mile inclusive. One square mile = 640 acres.

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  40. Ann, why don't you make a motion at the next board meeting to investigate the P.D.? As the previous poster stated, maybe a re-orginaztion from top to bottom is needed. One million dollars a year seems excessive. A contract with the Sheriff should be looked into.

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  41. I see many posts by Ann. I appreciate the diligence in bringing this issue to the public. However, all I see from Ann are questions. No solutions. There seem to be many issues with the campus police department. Ann, what are you going to propose to fix the problems? do you have an action plan or are you simply just making the public aware of the expense?

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  42. The Board of Trustees is the ultimate authority on this issue. It is my hope that the new S/P will allow the item to be placed on the agenda for an open public board discussion. In order to determine the cost/benefit of the expense as it relates to the educational mission of the college, the board would need to direct staff to further study the issue and bring back the comparative analysis that could determine a different direction for the college relative to campus safety. If the board does not do so, the pd will continue and remain as it is.

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  43. Concerned EmployeeJuly 15, 2008 3:40 PM

    As an employee of the college I have witnessed over the years the boards systematic abuse of Ann as they activly work to exclude her from things. It is a sad thing to see an honest board members questions ignored by the bully Kato.

    As for the police, I can't count the number of times I leave work and see our campus police have people pulled over writing them tickets. It seems to be their main concern. I also can't tell you how many times I have failed to see them on campus. And the few times they are on campus they seldom leave their cars.

    I am very hopeful the new administration will be more open to Ann's input and will also reign in the campus police.

    Please keep up the good work Ann. You have many fans who are quietly cheering for you and hoping you can fix things.

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  44. One million dollars for a 1/4 acre of area!! Wow! That is absolutely ridiculous. I am tired of seeing these officers off campus, not just around the corner, but miles away! The other day, it took two of them in their new vehicles to lurk near a stop sign to catch vehicles doing the "California Stop". And from the stories I have read on this blog and another one related to these officers, they are very unfriendly and are bully's, even sighting someone who pulled to the side of the road to avoid blocking traffic because the car was about to die. The officer gave a ticket !! These kinds of cops give the real cops a bad name. Please MSJC, do something about this. One million dollars and bullies to show for it! What a waste of money.

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  45. The cost of the MSJC Police is sooo worth it!!

    By stating that it's only a 1/4 acre of area, you are skewing the facts.

    If you counted the cost per capita student and worker population on campus rather than the size of the land area the cost is very reasonable and it makes total sense.

    There are thousands of extra people coming and going throughout Menifee because of the College. They come from all over So Cal because students can grab classes at MSJC when not available at their local community college.

    My husband is a Probation Officer and the MSJC Police arrested one of the sex offenders he supervises near the campus for a broken tail light. He was really impressed with the professionalism and quick action.

    Menifee is becoming a hub for the area and as such has all kinds of crime happening. The college is not an island, but part of the community. We are lucky that MSJC has a police force as we only have the sheriff to patrol our area and they are stretched thin.

    Perhaps you should compare with other community colleges policing costs before whining.

    Here's a link to list of all the community colleges. Perhaps the Board of Trustees could assign Ann to do a comprehensive review to compare what other colleges are paying for their campus police. Instead of attacking the fine police officers at MSJC!!

    http://www.cccco.edu/CommunityColleges/CommunityCollegeListings/CollegeListingsAlphabetical/tabid/643/Default.aspx

    The main Ccommunity College link is:

    http://www.cccco.edu/Home/tabid/189/Default.aspx

    We are getting a real DEAL.

    FYI - Riverside has 33 sworn officers (including a gange unit), Chaffey has 20 officers, and Palomar has a complete Police Academy. All of the CC departments work with the local city and county police in and around their campuses. Just read their Campus Police websites.

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  46. Wife of probation officer or MSJC police dept personnel???

    Let us request records from your computer usage at work and I bet we will see who really is posting, MSJC.

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  47. Let's get behind Ann; she's in the forefront trying to make a difference and keeping things exposed. I also have a comment for the barney's employed policing the campus. If they are hired to protect the campus; PLEASE let them know the entire area (especially menifee lakes areas)are NOT part of the campus. We see more of them by far on our streets more than the 'true' law enforcements. If I had a daughter on campus and something happened to her while the ones being paid to protect her were out 'runnung the streets', who would be guilty of her harm more, the perpertrator or the ones not doing their jobs?

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  48. Tell Ann to go stick it up her %$#

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