By Stephanie Holland / Editor in Chief
By Stephanie Holland / Editor in Chief
Viewpoints sat down with Riverside Community College District Chief of Police Jim Miyashiro to find out about some of the issues students are most interested in.
S.H.: Tell us about yourself. What is your law enforcement background?
J.M.: I’ve been in law enforcement for 26 years; I’ve worked for not only California colleges but municipal agencies. I’ve worked all over; it’s been a fun and rewarding career.
S.H.: What brought you to RCC?
J.M.: I spent a lot of time at municipal agencies, I enjoyed the collegiate aspect of being at universities and colleges and when I saw this opportunity come up I wanted to come, I thought it would be a nice place to work and it has been.
S.H.: Explain what’s involved in policing the three different colleges in the district?
J.M.: What makes it fun is there’s something different all the time.
Each college has different things that happen, they have different procedures. Law enforcement procedures are the same but they have different types of crimes and different things in different areas.
What makes it unique is we have a variety of things that we do. In addition to the law enforcement we do, we also provide parking services, we provide first aid; we’re first responders to any kind of incident or accident that happens on campus.
We also have crime prevention programs that we put on at the campus, as well as services for people who lock themselves out of their cars; we provide escorts, patrol and anything else the college community needs.
S.H.: The most common complaint is about parking. What is planned to help ease some of the early semester congestion?
J.M.: Parking wise we’ve really been impacted hard this year and that’s because of construction going on.
What we’ve done to help alleviate that problem is we have a special parking lot which is off of Magnolia and Third Street, it’s called Lot 33.
That lot is open during the first few weeks of each semester, what that does is it shifts the parking problem from here by giving us extra spaces there.
S.H.: Those first few weeks can be hectic, do you have suggestions for students?
J.M.: The best thing you can do is sign up for Twitter, because during the first part of all the semesters we’re on Twitter @RCCDINFO.
We put out which lots are full, which lots have limited parking and which lots are wide open.
Your best bet is going to be the offsite lots which are near Olivewood, the stadium and by the softball fields. Those are the furthest from the campus but those stay open the most.
S.H.: As parking increases on the outskirts of campus in places like Prospect near the Press-Enterprise, is there a plan to increase safety in those areas or to put in lights or emergency phones in those areas?
J.M.: Any of the lots that we designate as a RCC lot, for example Lot 33, we did put emergency phones in there, and there is ample lighting in there.
My recommendation is to park in a district lot rather than try to park on the street. We can’t provide any additional lighting or phones, that’s all city property, but if you park in one of our lots it’s secure.
Lot 33 we do have a CSO (community service officer) that makes sure everything’s secure and you do have the shuttle bus coming in and out all the time.
As long as you stay in a RCC lot you do have assurances with the emergency phone and lighting.
S.H.: We’ve heard that the two week grace period will be lifted?
J.M.: We’ve had a lot of complaints from faculty members that students were parking in staff lots thinking they wouldn’t get a ticket and that wasn’t correct information.
If a student is parked in a faculty lot during the two week period they still get a ticket. The two weeks is basically so if they didn’t have time to get a permit that they have time to go up and buy one. It doesn’t provide for them to park wherever they want for two weeks.
S.H.: The ban on smoking hasn’t reduced smoking on campus. What’s being done to combat this?
J.M.: Recently we’ve assigned CSOs specifically to the areas where we’ve seen lots of smoking.
We have handed out a lot of brochures about it. We’ve given lots of warnings.
We’re collecting names and if we get a second time that a person has violated the no smoking policy, then they’ll be issued a referral and that referral will be to the Dean of Student Services for disciplinary action.
S.H.: The recent death at the parking structure was the second in the short time it’s been open. Are their plans to add any fences or barriers to prevent further accidents?
J.M.: Actually there is, I submitted a recommendation that we fence in the top floor and the third floor and right now they’re looking at it.
S.H.: Has student frustration over budget cuts and parking difficulties caused an increase in crime?
J.M.: We haven’t seen an increase in crime. There has been an increase in calls for service as far as students getting out of hand or students being confrontational during certain times of the day either in class or near the registration area.
For the most part everybody’s been cooperative; once we get there it’s usually toned down a lot.
I try to tell our officers that respond, times are tough right now and we have to really be sensitive to the needs of everyone.
S.H.: Have budget cuts affected the department’s ability to protect students?
J.M.: No…as far as day to day operations we’ve had reductions like any other department in the district, but we try to do the best we can with the staff we have.
We’re fortunate that we have understandings with the local law enforcement agencies, so if we ever are in a situation where something happens on campus and we need additional resources, additional police officers, additional help, we can pick up a radio and call for Riverside PD or the Sheriffs department and they’ll be here to help us as well.