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  • Campus cops, please comment.

    The other day my wife had an appointment at the local college for a meeting with her instructor. My son had just gotten his learner's permit so we all went to the campus and I dropped my wife off. I then took my son to a very empty area of the parking lot, near the football field, to give him a driving lesson while my wife was in her meeting. About 15 to 20 minutes into the lesson we were stopped and standing outside the car. We were discussing how he was doing so far and what the next exersise would be. I notice a marked campus police truck driving through the area. I flagged down the officer to let him know what we are doing, since if I saw someone driving in circles in my area of patrol I would investigate it, and I figured I could save him the trouble. The officer was very polite but informed me that my son could not drive on the campus. I informed him again that my son had his learner's permit, I had a DL and that everything was legal. He never asked to see any documents. He said it was a matter of school policy. Apparently a while back a student driver hit a light pole in the parking lot and so the administration had banned student drivers on campus. The officer continued by stating that he agreed that it was a stupid policy but it is his job to enforce it. I have been in similar situations myself, so I didn't give him a hard time. We did continue to chat. Eventually he said that he would forget that we had talked and that he would go patrol the other end of the campus, but he couldn't say what any other officers would do. I did not at any time tell him what I do for a living or ask or even hint that he should go against policy. I continued the driving lesson for another half hour or so, until my wife finished her appointment. We did see a couple of other patrol cars come through the area, but neither stopped us.
    My question is: Does a Community College, in California, have the authority to impose such a rule? If it were a private school, I would agree that they have the authority, but I don't believe that what is, in effect, a publicly owned facility has this authority. I can see if it was stated that since niether of us attend the school or are employed by the school we shouldn't be there. The issue was that my son is a student driver who has a learner's permit, issued by the state, and is perfectly legal to drive if he is with a licensed driver age 25 or older (me).
    "Gun control, the theory that 110lb. women have the "right" to fistfight with 210lb. rapists. " Author Unknown

  • #2
    hard to enforce

    I can't speak to California, but the public university system here in Alaska is pretty much an extention of the state government. The Board of Regents has authority simmilar to a municipal government to set motor vehicle code. They could however, not make the offense anything more than a citeable violation because in Alaska you have to be an elected body to create criminal statutes.

    I'd say that their PD could only realistically enforce this a secondary violation (like seatbelts in some states). So in all practicality that means that they would need reasonable cause to stop for another offense before u could be cited for driving on a learners permit.

    Seeing a young fella driving a car with an old fella as a passenger does not constitute probable cause .

    Justice_Hound
    LP Manager
    We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.
    -George Orwell

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    • #3
      My sister was a campus police officer in San Francisco before she got her current job (with a Sheriff's office), I expect her to call this weekend so If I can remember it I'll ask her. All in all my impression is that California's eduction code is much like Texas'.

      Now, here in Texas, we (we meaning the college's administration) can limit what people do on our campuses.

      From the Texas Education Code:

      § 51.202. RULES AND REGULATIONS; PENALTY. (a) The
      governing board of each state institution of higher education,
      including public junior colleges, may promulgate rules and
      regulations for the safety and welfare of students, employees, and
      property, and other rules and regulations it may deem necessary to
      carry out the provisions of this subchapter and the governance of
      the institution, providing for the operation and parking of
      vehicles on the grounds, streets, drives, alleys, and any other
      institutional property under its control, including but not limited
      to
      the following:
      (1) limiting the rate of speed;
      (2) assigning parking spaces and designating parking
      areas and their use
      and assessing a charge for parking;
      (3) prohibiting parking as it deems necessary;
      (4) removing vehicles parked in violation of
      institutional rules and regulations or law at the expense of the
      violator; and
      (5) instituting a system of registration for vehicle
      identification, including a reasonable charge.
      (b) A person who violates any provision of this subchapter
      or any rule or regulation promulgated under the authority of this
      subchapter is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is
      punishable by a fine of not more than $200.
      ---

      Public institutions have a duty to protect not only the public , but themselves as well. Public Colleges have a fiduciary duty to protect the taxpayer. While YOU would be reasonable if an accident occurred while you were teaching your son to drive Andy, we all know that other less scrupulous people would not be, and might even sue the college "for not preventing them from harming themselves" (or other such non-sense).

      When I worked at one of our outlying campuses, I had to stop people from teaching their kids to drive on campus, I hated having to do it (and trying to explain it to people was even worse, I got in the habit of actually keeping a copy of the education code in my boogie bag, some people didn't believe it when we let THEM read it for themselves lol), but in this sue happy culture we have to protect the college (and that includes the college's money lol).
      Last edited by Black Caesar; 12-21-2007, 11:15 AM.
      ~Black Caesar~
      Corbier's Commandos

      " "The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money." ~Margaret Thatcher

      Comment


      • #4
        BC: Thank you for your input. It will be interesting to see what your sister has to say about CA specifically.
        "Gun control, the theory that 110lb. women have the "right" to fistfight with 210lb. rapists. " Author Unknown

        Comment


        • #5
          Andy,

          Please forgive me, my reply might seem rather harsh and I don't mean it that way. First off let me say that the fact you are even questioning the policy and disregarding it by continuing the lesson is extremely poor judgement and setting a bad example for your son.

          The college, whether public or private, has the right to set its own policies in relation to student / employee safety. State traffic code has nothing to do with drivers ed. What you need to understand is when you set foot on that campus, they become responsible for you to a point. Parking lots weren't designed for drivers ed training. The way the college is looking at it is maybe your driving along in a non designated area of the parking lot (i.e. driving down the middle of some parking stalls) where cars don't normally go. Maybe your son hits a storm drain and somehow damages your car. Next thing there is a law suit against the college. Or perhaps you damage a light or something and flee. The college then has to pay for it and if their public maybe taxes will have to be raised for the damage.

          You can probably see where they are coming from. You should have stopped when the officer told you to, regardless of what he said. I don't work for a college but rather a large aerospace company and this is a problem we deal with all the time. I can assure you that had you not listened to me in this situation you would be talking to the local pd. You showed extremely poor judgement in continuing the lesson after talking with the officer. You showed even worse judgement in the fact that you come onto a web based forum and pubicly question the policy and wheter or not he had the right to do that. Guess what, he did you didn't. Stopping a drivers ed car doesn't fall under a traffic stop. It is a Terry Stop, at this point you would be investigated as a suspicous person at minimum a trespasser. My advice is sit down with your son and explain to him what you did was wrong. Explain that you should have obeyed the lawful request of the officer and that violating policies is not a good thing. I applaud you for attempting to be safe with regards to the drivers ed though. But next time obey the person that asks you to move on.

          Comment


          • #6
            Michael:
            Read my post again.
            1. The officer never asked me to move on. If he had asked me to do so I would have complied.
            2. Why is questioning a policy poor judgement? A PUBLIC COLLEGE is not the same as private property. It is part of government. Our system of government is based upon what we, the people of this country vote on. And what our elected officials put into place on our behalf. I see questioning governmental policies as not only a right that every American enjoys, but a civic duty as well. To cower in fear of government is something we should NEVER sink to in this country.
            3. I flagged down the officer. We were never stopped on a Terry Stop or any other type of stop. My son and I had stopped the car to discuss his progress.
            4. I knew the activity would look suspicious, which is why I flagged him down in the first place.
            5. Where did I say we were driving through parking spaces? We stayed within the speed limit and only drove the correct direction on the designated driveways.
            Last edited by Andy Taylor; 12-21-2007, 01:33 PM.
            "Gun control, the theory that 110lb. women have the "right" to fistfight with 210lb. rapists. " Author Unknown

            Comment


            • #7
              Andy,

              Sorry I am not going to turn this into a personal thread so I will refrain from saying what I want to say. As I mentioned I am not attacking you or attempting to be rude in any way shape or form.

              1) It doesn't matter what the officer said. He told you it was against policy. Therefore you should have said, ok officer sorry we will park and wait for the wife.

              2) Questioning policy itself isn't poor judgement. Your poor judgement came when he told you the reasons why ( damage to a light ) and you continued to do it knowing the college didn't want you to.

              As I mentioned the college has the right to make its own policies. It may be public property - doesn't mean its a free for all. A city park is public doesn't mean you can do doughnuts in the playground. The policies set forth by the college I can assure you were reviewed by lawyers who would not let the college make illegal policies for fear of a law suit.

              3) I am aware you flagged down the officer. My comment regarding terry stops was a general comment placed for your knowledge. Since there was some question as to whether an officer could legally stop you for that I felt it prudent to state that comment.

              4) You knew the activity would look suspicious you shouldn't have done it. I don't know what you do for a living but I assume it is security related since you're on this board. With that said, you should have the knowledge to say to yourself "this is going to look suspicious I don't want to bother or be hasseled by the cops". Flagging him down doesn't cut it. You have no idea if someone had called you in and therefore your actions might have resulted in waisted paperwork. You are also lucky you found a nice cop. In these situations I am not so nice. But then again it cost us several thousand to repair a 20 foot section of chain link fence that was destroyed as a result of "drivers ed". I don't even want to know what a light would cost. My rule of thumb is if I think my actions will look suspicious I don't do them - thats just common sense imo.

              5) You never said you were driving through parking spaces and I never said you did. Again a general statement. It is my personal expierience with dealing with this that is what most people do.

              In the grand scheme of things this is minor instance. I have only came close to trespassing someone for this once and that was because the gentleman became agressive but I'm sure he was up to more than just "drivers ed". I have dealt with 100's if not 1000's of drivers ed instances on my job. Every time it frustrates me. It takes me away from my regular duties, wastes my time repeating myself, and for the few moments of the initial contact - places me in potential jeopardy (even if I am flagged down I have no idea who you are). I personally agree, it is a stupid policy. However, I have seen the financial side as a result of the damage. In a perfect world this wouldn't happen but as long as there are dishonest morons out there we will have to live with rules like this. Its your job as a law abiding citizen to obey the rules. Even though the cop didn't directly ask you to leave you should have left after he told you it was against the rules. Thats just my opinion on the matter.

              Comment


              • #8
                Alright, this thread gets back on topic or we'll never know, cause I'll lock it.

                This thread is not about:
                1) What Michael Ledgerwood would do to Andy Taylor if he were a campus police officer.

                2) Dissecting why Mr. Taylor did what he did, etc.

                This is why we can't have nice things, people.
                Some Kind of Commando Leader

                "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

                Comment


                • #9
                  I understand where Mike is coming from, in the same situation I would have discontinued an activity once I knew it was against the rules even if I disagreed with the rule. If I felt strongly that the rule was wrong I'd take it up with the appropriate authority (which in this case would be the College Administration or College District Board of Trustees) after the fact.

                  What the campus police officer in question did was IMO questionable. No matter how "lame" you think a rule is you don't look the other way, not just because it's wrong but for your own personal well being. Giving someone tacit consent to break a rule is a good way to get fired.

                  If something beyond the person's control happens when the person is doing something they shouldn't, and it comes out that an officer "looked the other way" that officer could be screwed. That's one reason I would stop doing something once I knew it was against the rules, because I sure as heck don't want some officer who is just doing their job and trying to be nice to get in trouble because I can't follow the rules.

                  All of us here are in the business of "bringing order to chaos" (in other words, enforcing rules lol) so we above all should understand the need to follow even the rules we don't like, because we WILL be asking others to do that next time we go to work.

                  ----

                  A last point the Mike brings up is important also, the point about "Public Property".

                  Several times a day I have to explain to people the same things Mike said. "Yes this is public property-no you can't just come here and do what you want" (this is my usual refrain to Skateboarders lol). Ledgerwood's example about the Park and doing donuts is pretty good. (as an extreme example) Lots of Airports are public property, you can't walk across the tarmac anytime you want even if no planes are around. Every military base in the country is public property, but, well, you get the picture

                  The property where you can do what you want when you want is called "your own private property" lol, public property is property held in trust for everyone. And public authorities should (and here in Texas do) have not only the right, but the duty to regulate the use of that land.

                  Of course, no one I deal with wants to hear any of that (any justification about why they can't do what they wan't, one guy proteted "but this college is "Community property"...... I told him I'll remember that if we ever get divorced ). People are only concerned with why I am denying them their "freedom" lol. I just tell them those are the rules, my job is to enforce the rules and thus maintain the balance between freedom and order, because freedom without order is called anarchy.
                  Last edited by Black Caesar; 12-21-2007, 06:41 PM.
                  ~Black Caesar~
                  Corbier's Commandos

                  " "The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money." ~Margaret Thatcher

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Just to reiterate. What I have learned in Ohio is, even though it is "Public Property" someone owns it and the public is "invited" to use the facility. The property owner and agents of the property can enforce what they want and impose whatever rules they want.
                    "If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn't thinking."
                    - General George Patton Jr

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      A public campus, city or state property, may be considered open to visitors but at the same time it must be remembered this is "Controlled Property." The rules of "Contraband and Prohibited" items apply.
                      Enjoy the day,
                      Bill

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I am a state university police officer. My university is a political subsection of the state government, all of the university’s campuses are state property and the UPD is a state level law enforcement agency. As such, we are empowered to enforce all traffic laws. That said, the university (just like any town/city) may pass certain ordnances that curb the potentially irresponsible, hazardous or negligent conduct. Driving in circles can certainly be construed as reckless.
                        I believe I speak for everyone here sir, when I say, to Hell with our orders.
                        -Lieutenant Commander Data
                        sigpic

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Tennsix View Post
                          I am a state university police officer. My university is a political subsection of the state government, all of the university’s campuses are state property and the UPD is a state level law enforcement agency. As such, we are empowered to enforce all traffic laws. That said, the university (just like any town/city) may pass certain ordnances that curb the potentially irresponsible, hazardous or negligent conduct. Driving in circles can certainly be construed as reckless.

                          Exactly. My statement of "driving in circles" is more akin to driving around the block. At least in my case. If a person is doing this and is legal to drive it looks suspicious, but is not illegal. A city would not be within its rights to pass an ordance contrary to the state vehicle code. IE: a person with a learner's permit may drive under certain conditions. The example of "doing donuts in the park" doesn't hit the mark. That is illegal per the state vehicle code.
                          "Gun control, the theory that 110lb. women have the "right" to fistfight with 210lb. rapists. " Author Unknown

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by HospitalOfficer View Post
                            Just to reiterate. What I have learned in Ohio is, even though it is "Public Property" someone owns it and the public is "invited" to use the facility. The property owner and agents of the property can enforce what they want and impose whatever rules they want.
                            Do not confuse "Public Property" with "Private Property that is open to the public."
                            "Gun control, the theory that 110lb. women have the "right" to fistfight with 210lb. rapists. " Author Unknown

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              A public college or university (or town for that matter) may enact an ordinance prohibiting the operation of motor vehicles by those carrying only a learner’s permit. Such an ordinance is not an infringement of civil liberties as driving is not a right and said rule can withstand the test of sensibleness. An unlicensed driver (albeit a learner’s permit) could be considered a danger. For example, my university (and some towns) prohibits the possession of firearms, even with a gun permit. Bringing a gun on campus is not illegal according to state law but it does violate university laws. Violators are barred from campus and their weapons are confiscated. If they refuse to oblige, statutes such as criminal trespassing, resisting law enforcement, and disorderly conduct come into play.


                              The exceptions to the firearms policy are law enforcement, campus security (separate from university police), faculty (I don’t know why…), and persons receiving written permission from the UPD chief.
                              Last edited by Tennsix; 12-22-2007, 04:57 PM.
                              I believe I speak for everyone here sir, when I say, to Hell with our orders.
                              -Lieutenant Commander Data
                              sigpic

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