It’s 7 a.m. at the station. The officers on campus slowly trickle in as the minutes tick by, some bringing in caffeinated drinks to get the day going. Ten minutes later one of the rooms starts to fill with a few officers.
Initially, it’s a bit of directionless conversation, but quickly enough, the officers go through their itinerary, the status of programs and initiatives and then they’re off to fulfill their respective duties for the day.
â€œBriefings, then emails. I need to check on reports on anything from last night’s shift,â€ said Chauncey Fonner, Cal State Fullerton police officer, before he heads off to patrol for a 12-hour shift.
A right from State College Boulevard puts him on Yorba Linda Boulevard and then another right takes him into a parking lot.
â€œFor whatever reason, thieves sometimes take the cars they steal here,â€ Fonner said.
A few communications through the radio are made and Fonner reads off the license plate numbers on one of the cars into his walkie-talkie before heading off.
Fonner heads out back into the streets, driving down some of the back alleys of apartments near Nutwood and Chapman Avenues, establishing a presence in the area. He said it’s mostly a matter of driving past the area so people know there is a physical presence of law there. It’s not a matter of intimidation, but more of just doing his job.
Campus police jurisdiction actually extends a mile beyond campus and in some cases, investigations have caused them to extend their influence even beyond that.
â€œDuring an investigation, we went to Riverside for possible grand theft,â€ Fonner said.
Soon after, Fonner stops a citizen on a street and starts a conversation. Initially a bit bizarre, he starts carrying a conversation with a seemingly random citizen. What seems to be the man’s family watches from a distance. Five minutes after, the little chat is over.
â€œThat was a consensual encounter,â€ Fonner said. â€œIt’s to get any new information in the area by people who actually live there. They have every right to ignore me.â€
Fonner is called in again to investigate a graffiti incident in one of the campus restrooms. He breaks out of his patrol route and heads toward the campus. He stops by the restroom where the incident took place. It’s noted and he heads off to the campus Quad. He stands there, arms crossed, as students make their way to their classes.
â€œWe like to make our presence known,â€ Fonner said as he told would-be skateboarders to keep their boards off the ground.
Though crime in and around the campus area largely consists of property theft, it’s not a place where major incidents, such as murder, occur. However, the distinct possible. â€œIt’s something that’s a reality of our job,â€ Fonner said.
This is the usual routine for campus police officers. Patrols, briefings and having a knowledgeable know-how of what to do when a situation occurs.
On the office side, it’s a bit of a different story. John Brockie, the lieutenant of the campus police force, is more involved with the clerical side of things. Paper work, and hours in the office and in meetings, Brockie’s responsibilities more or less hold the fort down at the office while keeping an open line of communication to students and the media, like the Daily Titan staff.
â€œEvery semester we get students who either care enough to do the job well or ones who simply come for the grade,â€ said Brockie, remarking on the how the journalistic quality of students covering crime and security oscillates.
Brockie said he believes in dispersing information to the public, as he believes in open communication and considers it an opportunity to display the good work that’s being done by campus police officers.
â€œThe story on the catalytic converters was a good one in bringing the issue to light,â€ Brockie said. â€œThe story about the GPS bikes too was a way of showing just what we’re doing about bike theft on the school campus.â€
Although his responsibilities as lieutenant keep him strapped to an office, he understands the importance of his position.
The two halves of campus police, the physical and the clerical, create the kind of synergy that makes the place function. They both depend on each other to make the system work. To enforce the law you need to be out there to document it; it needs to be written, typed and archived. To handle the logistics and keep up with organization, working within the office is just as important. It’s what keeps the system flowing and it’s what keeps CSUF as safe as it can be.