Going for a ride-a-long with campus police

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My intentions of Exploring with Evelyn were to participate in and experience some of the activities Delta has to offer students.

The San Joaquin Delta College District Police isn’t  a sports team or club students can join on whim, but I have always respected the police department and its efforts to make Delta a better place.

I decided if I was going to report on the department, I had to experience the day in the life of an officer to get the full street cred. 

I booked a ride along for Monday morning and mentally prepared myself for a day of what I believed would be filled with non-stop crime and tickets.

Officer Steve Walker introduced himself to me for the first time that morning and I couldn’t help but think this may have been a joke.

I have never in my life seen such heavy firearms and there stood Officer Walker with an AR-15 in hand directly in front of me. 

I was terrified to say the least.

Nevertheless, we continued our way to the car where Officer Walker performed his daily inspection of the vehicle and loaded it with protection and firearms for his daily shift from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Officer Walker began our ride along with a quick run-down of the weapons, buttons and devices applied on him and contained in the vehicle. 

An interesting gadget Officer Walker wears is a body camera. This camera is activated manually and immediately begins recording when started. The camera also captures 30 seconds of footage before the camera is even manually started with a push of a button to give context of a situation. An example of this would be a student failing to stop at a stop sign and after being pulled over claim that they did in fact come to a complete stop. 

Walker has been serving the department for approximately two years and has years of previous experience with Sheriff’s Department, including work as a K9 officer.

This information helped ease my mind about the rifle and bean bag gun standing up behind me.

A majority of the morning was spent reminding students to remain out of red-zone areas in parking lots, but as time progressed I learned more about our campus, parking and safety.

By Officer Walker’s judgment, the Budd and Holt parking lots experience the most crime. 

Some of tips for students to avoid crime according to Officer Steven Walker and Officer Craig Wood would be to avoid leaving valuables out (including attempting to hide them with a blanket or clothing), parking in well-lit and visible areas and being aware of surroundings, whether that be removing headphones or setting your phone down.

The department offers a police escort program to all students and staff members whether they may need assistance walking to their car or class, day or night.

While riding through campus I also picked up on some disturbing habits of students driving and staff members.

Approximately 22 cars didn’t come to a full stop at a stop sign, within the hours of my ride along. 

As college students, we often find ourselves in a hurry rushing from place to place. Running or “rolling through” stop signs doesn’t save time and could cost a life.

Tickets given to students for speeding or running a stop sign provide no revenue for the department. 

So your tickets written on campus aren’t to take money from you, they’re made to prevent accidents from occurring.

Officer Walker’s overall goal for not only himself but the San Joaquin Delta College District Police is to make campus “a safe and productive educational environment for everyone.”

I could not have had a better partner to learn from and ride alongside for the day. I have the utmost respect for Officer Walker and the department working towards making Delta College a better and more safe environment for everyone. Thank you.

The Police Escort program can be reached at (209) 954-5000.