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Tina Ortiz, Collegian Columnist

Issue date: 11/4/08 Section: Editorial / Opinion

The Univerisity of Massachusetts Police Department Web site claims that it is "dedicated to ensuring that all members of our community live, work and learn on campus without concerns about safety." Unfortunately, officer conduct has strayed alarmingly far from this ideal for a while. I hope the UMPD sees its recent reassignment to the Department of Administration and Finance as an opportunity to improve its numerous inadequacies.

The Chancellor called for the reassignment in attempts to broaden the community in which the department protects to include not only students but also faculty and staff. UMass Amherst, in recent years, has placed notoriously high on lists ranking the nation's most violent campuses.

It's clear that our mini-metropolis is the site for a substantial amount of violence. So why, if there are legitimate crimes taking place on campus, are officers more focused on pinning people with expensive traffic citations?

Not stopping for someone in a crosswalk is an offense that carries a $200 fine, and yet I don't even feel safe walking home from the library at night.

Every student is financially spoken for here. No one goes to school for free, whether it's through scholarships or financial aid. The University above all things - even education - is a business. The fundamental purpose of a police force should not be to bring in revenue, but to maintain general public safety.

Now, if an officer sets out on patrol with the goal of writing tickets first and public safety somewhere second, it's clear that in doing so he blinds himself to real crime and allows a frightening change in his own behavior.

As a society, we understand that being a police officer is dangerous work. We give officers some authority to use at their own reasonable digression when enforcing laws that protect us all.

It's my right and civic obligation to question when that authority is being abused.

I feel that anyone who works to protect the greater good for a living is brave, but police brutality is an ugly reality in many communities. The police are here on this campus to protect, first and foremost. So the safety of a person waiting for a bus late at night should come before pulling someone over for a rolling stop.

A simple traffic violation can put you hundreds of dollars in the hole, and yet while waiting at a crosswalk I've seen cruisers bomb down Massachusetts Avenue doing at least 60 miles per hour. Invasive and disrespectful questioning is standard procedure for police officers on campus.

My 21-year-old friend was stopped and immediately told to "hand over your ID sit the fuck down on the curb, and shut up" last semester as he tried to bring alcohol back to his room in Southwest, a harmless action.

As I watched the officers prey on him, their aggression seemed to be driven from a place of cowardice not unlike that of over zealous hall monitors.

Time spent harassing a 21-year-old about alcohol, while someone could be in serious danger, is time wasted. Seeing those blue lights distracts me from the road and impairs my driving abilities to a significant degree.

Officers deserve respect and I'm sure that it's rare when they get the proper amount of it from the student body. But if the police helped me more than they targeted me, my perspective of them would be different. But they don't. So, it isn't.

If you're frightened and worried about police presence in the first place then you're less likely to protect your own personal rights. Every officer knows this and capitalizes on that ignorance as a means of getting you to incriminate yourself. Asking if you have the legal right to willfully deny any request without legal penalty can diffuse many situations, so know your rights and know them well.

Increased police presence means only increased surveillance on this campus. With Question 2 on the ballot, the UMPD is frantically rounding up as many stoners as they can. A recent article in High Times magazine reported that over 48 million Americans admitted to being habitual pot smokers.

Without even taking into account those stoners in denial, it's time that police forces nation wide focus on convicting and preventing violent crimes, you know, the ones that pose legitimate threats to public safety. This isn't to say I want weed to be legalized. If the best pot was grown on American soil then believe me, it would be legal. Until then, Uncle Sam better keep his grubby little paws out of my zip lock baggy.

The moral panic generated by the War on Drugs has not only caused police to waste time and public money, but also caused them to fall from the good graces of the public.

While I won't claim that all officers abuse their authority, I will say many policemen and women forget that they are just that, men and women. The badge represents a brave commitment to the public, and by no means puts you above the law. Fiscal inefficiency is an ugly habit that many public Universities can't seem to shake and it infects virtually all aspects of administration here.

A police department more invested in harassing people out of its money than preserving their safety is making a wasteful mistake, with dangerous consequences.

http://media.www.dailycollegian.com....shtml?reffeature=recentlycommentedstoriestab
 

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I read the first paragraph and became so nauseous I couldn't finish the whole thing. Maybe later I'll give it another try and find I didn't get the true message behind the article.

In the meantime, I'll be leaning over in the bathroom praying.
 

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Quote: "A police department more invested in harassing people out of its money than preserving their safety is making a wasteful mistake, with dangerous consequences."

I would LOVE to see some statistics and evidence to back that statement up... thats almost as ignorant as saying that all people of hispanic descent break laws and therefor have a negative conotation of police officers.
 

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Shame on the UMASS PD for jeopardizing public safety by not turning a blind eye to motor vehicle violations.
 

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These people who complain about traffic tickets are funny. You are 100 times more likley to be killed in a traffic collision than to be killed in a violent crime. Traffic violations kill more people than rapists, robbers, and murderers put together, nationwide, every year.
 

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I personally like the fact of citing "high times" magazine=stoner!!!
Typical immature college stupidity!!!
 

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I love it when I lock someone up or pull someone over and they ask me "Don't you have anything better to do?" I just tell them "Yeah, but I'm not doing it now, am I?" This dunce wants the PD to sit and watch bus stops and ignore crosswalks violations?
 

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I cant read this crap...It gives me a headache. The little KIDS (which is what they are) that wrote this, act like the fuzz is out to push them down, slap them around, take their pot, beer and paraphernalia and then we go back to our station and smoke the weed, drink the beer and then we have a nazi rally where we all salute one another and goosestep.

UMPD does an excellent job, they should enforce MV citations because the kids that go there drive like shit. I bet this little bitch got a ticket and now is writing a bull shit article, which only her and her 5 face book friends will read then go back to drinking in public buying for underage kids, smoking weed in the dorms, and driving like shit all over campus. Then when they get stopped, documented, or arrested, its the UMPD that are "too aggressive" and they should go back to keying in faculty and conducting building checks. Go fuck your face Tina.
 

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Now THAT ^^^^^ last post above mine was a classic, I could not put it into better words if I tried! Especially the last sentence...HELPMe you truly are the Shakespeare of this age! :cool:
 

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QUOTE "A simple traffic violation can put you hundreds of dollars in the hole, and yet while waiting at a crosswalk I've seen cruisers bomb down Massachusetts Avenue doing at least 60 miles per hour. Invasive and disrespectful questioning is standard procedure for police officers on campus. "


This chick is good... I mean, gosh, I had to go to a CLASS and get Certified to be able to estimate a cars speed with no radar... Golly Gee, she ought to run for office.
 

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She's gunning for a cabinate post in the new administration, Sect'y of Police Oversight, Punishment and Correction.

Has anyone forgotten the POLICE CORPS that Slick Willy introduced? What ever happened to that?
 

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Reasonable DIGRESSION? WTF is that? Discretion perhaps? Great job by the editing staff who are more interested in getting out as fast as possible a cop bashing article. As PearlOnyx covered...how can you seperate traffic enforcement from public safety? Even being a cop I am far more concerned with getting hit roadside than getting into a gunfight. Just another Obamaton spouting off platitudes.

To add insult to injury I have no doubt we are paying for her education with a nifty scholarship.
 

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Lets send her to Vietnam or an undeveloped country where the police are babysitters and will beat you for no apparent reason. Forget about excessive use of force.
 

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I wish we lived in a less politically correct country. For those who ask me, "Don't you have anything better to do?", I'd like to show them graphic photos of the traffic fatalities that we investigate on a regular basis, and then explain to them why I am assigned to a full time traffic unit. "This is why I wrote you a ticket for 15 MPH over. 15MPH over killed this man." Can you imagine the complaints? =)
 

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Cop shows have come and gone but no matter how dated he might be, Joe Friday is one of the Best and most reliable sources of some very good stuff.

MARK VII Baby!
 

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These kids pay insane amounts of money to go to universities like UMASS and such to get an education or so they say, and yet there comments are so freakin stupid and make no god dam sense. Its seems the more college educated they are they dumber they become. Go UMASS PD keep stopping these idiots like the girl who posted that stupid ass remark. and please when you stop her, just let her know the ticket you gave her was because you want to make the campus safer....lol , maybe next time she will watch her mouth.
 
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These kids pay insane amounts of money to go to universities like UMASS and such to get an education or so they say, and yet there comments are so freakin stupid and make no god dam sense. Its seems the more college educated they are they dumber they become.
You can get a college degree with a major in anything but common sense.
 
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