Keeping the peace with campus police
By Jackson Ly/The Guardsman
Equipped with bulletproof vests, handcuffs, a collapsible baton and pepper spray, City College campus police officers Tiffany Green and Erica McGlaston responded quickly to a dispatch call regarding a disruptive student in class.
During a ride-along on Feb. 27 at 3:20 p.m., the school’s police dispatcher informed Green and McGlaston that a math instructor on the seventh floor of Batmale Hall was having difficulty dealing with one of her students.
“When we’re handling disruptive students, we usually go in doubles,” Green said.
With five years of service under her belt, Green was the contact officer, while McGlaston, who has three years of experience, was the backup officer.
The hardest part of her job is “having to deal with people who are not very cooperative and don’t want to listen,” Green said. ”It’s important to protect yourself.”
When the officers reached the seventh floor of Batmale Hall, the uncooperative student had already left.
The student was about to have a “psychotic breakdown,” and was “asking all sorts of questions that aren’t related to the subject,” said the instructor, who did not want to be identified. “You can’t come to class if you’re disruptive.”
She told the two officers that she wants the student to be removed from her class for a couple of days.
“You can do that. The dean decides what happens,” Green said. “If he does come back, give us a call.”
After about five minutes, Green’s radio sounded again and informed them there were students on the roof of the Arts Extension Building.
“Got to go to another one,” Green said.
As the two officers ran down three flights of stairs from the seventh floor, this reporter’s sprint speed wasn’t enough to keep up with them.
“Wait right here,” she said to McGlaston, as she went inside the women and men’s bathrooms of the Creative Arts Building.
“Excuse me. Campus police,” Green said to a male student in the men’s room. “How long have you been in here?”
“Five minutes,” he responded.
“Did you see someone go out the window?” Green asked.
The person said he did not see anything.
By the time the two officers found the classroom window that the suspected students climbed out of in Room 218, they’d already fled the scene.
Calls about disruptive students like these are rare, but when they occur, they come in “a lump sum,” Green said.
Green is on a constant lookout for unusual characters on her 3 p.m. to midnight shift.
She has a “4-9” schedule, which means she works four days a week, nine hours a day, in addition to one eight-hour workday every other week.
As she walks upstairs to Science Hall, she said there have been times that she has seen people naked, high on drugs or urinating on the premises.
Homeless have also been found camping around campus she added.
At one point, a person had put up a tent on the roof of Cloud Hall and slept there until someone in Science Hall reported the individual.
In the beginning
Inside the officers’ SUV, Green talked about her initial interest in law enforcement as a criminal justice major back in Louisiana.
As she pulled into the parking lot of Chasing Lions Café, she spoke about her old internship at a parish jail, where she counted prison inmates as an “informal” deputy sheriff.
Green said it wasn’t until she returned to her hometown of Berkeley that she considered going into law enforcement. A police recruiter convinced her to join, after discussing with her the job duties and benefits.
To become a community college police officer, one must be POST-certified by the police academy and have Continuing Professional Training (CPT) to stay updated on what they’ve learned from the academy.
Green and McGlaston are among the four POST-certified sworn officers assigned to Ocean campus. There are a total of 27 sworn peace officers and 11 campus control aides dispersed across the City College locations.
Sworn officers have the authority to arrest individuals, while campus control aides have the power to observe, report and issue parking tickets.
With the challenge of safeguarding one of the nation’s largest community college systems, Green and McGlaston can take comfort in knowing they are doing their part to ensure the safety of the City College community.