Some students may think that the Campus Safety officers spend their evenings just breaking up dorm parties and busting kids for smoking at the Trestle. But after riding along with Officer Victor Malavet for several hours one Saturday night, Campus Safety officers are very busy, but not always doing what you think.
Officer Malavet said that it’s really up to the officers on duty as to how often they go out to patrol the campus and for how long, although he said officers are actively patrolling while on duty.
[singlepic id=1571 w=320 h=240 float=right]
When they are out, Malavet said they must keep dispatch aware of their location throughout the ride, and once they have inspected an area, they should let dispatch know that the area was cleared. He said that officers are also responsible for locking up all the buildings on campus throughout the week.
Around 10 p.m., Officer Malavet pointed out some of the groups of students, especially girls, seemingly going out for the night. “We will watch them, see where they’re going, and watch them make it safely back to their dorm,” Malavet said. He said that officers including himself will also offer girls rides home if they are walking by themselves late at night.
Along the patrol, there were a couple students hanging around a back exit of an Owls Nest building.
Malavet stopped and asked them some questions to see what they were up to. It turned out they were waiting for some friends to exit the building and leave with them, but it took several questions to get this information. Malavet said there are reasons they have to ask a lot of questions sometimes. “They look at you like, ‘Why are you asking me all these questions?’ I’m like, ‘It’s my job!’ You’re making yourself look suspicious,” Malavet said.
While passing an emergency blue light post, Malavet said that he does get a lot of calls from the blue lights being activated, but not legitimate ones.
“But we have to respond to them unfortunately. I say unfortunately because it takes away from other things that we may be able to be doing. I’ve been here six years and I have not responded to a legitimate call that someone used the lights for,” Malavet said.
On the bright side Malavet said he has helped a lot of people who had been jumped or in a fight before things got worse. He said he also comes across curious situations with students that he has helped sort out.
“One time I was walking by Pondside I and I saw this guy carrying this girl on his shoulder, and you could tell he had been drinking, but she was really drunk,” Malavet said.
“I asked what was going on here, and the guy said, ‘Oh, she’s my friend, I’m bringing her home,’ and I said, ‘No you’re not, you need to put her down so we can make sure she’s okay,’” he said.
Malavet said that he understands that those friend situations can happen, but the officers need to make sure they’re keeping everyone safe so they can’t risk things like this. Malavet added that he has responded to calls similar to this where the girl may even want to go with the guy, but he has suggested that he would really like it if they don’t go home together and let the officers help her home instead. “We’ve had people come up to us the next day and be like, ‘Thank you for being there,’ so it’s nice to get that positive feedback,” Malavet said.
Close to 11 p.m. there was a call from dispatch saying there was a possible 706 [marijuana] in Carle Hall and patrol officer number ten was being asked to respond, but since Malavet’s cruiser was just driving by Carle, he took the call. Malavet met with the RAs and the RD outside of the room and with the door open to the people in the hallway, Malavet asked the students if they had been smoking that night. He spoke calmly and the students were very quiet as well. He told them that it did smell like marijuana in the room as well as outside. “I treat them with dignity and respect,” Malavet said.
“I knew he was going to be forthcoming. I asked him if they had been smoking, and then I asked him if they had been smoking earlier, and he paused and I knew. I said ok well don’t give anything, just wait and talk with them [KPD].”
When the two KPD officers arrived they went in and spoke to the students with the doors closed. According to Malavet the KPD has the power to do this and it may help the students feel easier about talking to them.
One student was arrested, but not put in handcuffs. Malavet said this is another sign of respect from the KPD officers to students who behave respectfully, and remain calm.
Although most calls the officers respond to seem normal and relate to students, Malavet said he has had some weird calls he’s had to go on.
“I did save a squirrel from a trap one time! They [dispatch] called me and I said ‘Alright I’ll check it out, but I don’t know what I can do,’” Malavet said. “I said to him [the squirrel], ‘I’m trying to save you man!’ He was moving around like crazy!”
Malavet stressed that Campus Safety officers are not just here to enforce the laws. He said that many officers are also advisers for various sororities and fraternities affiliated with the school, Malavet specifically is the advisor for Phi Mu Delta. Malavet also said that Campus Safety offers classes taught by officers to teach interested students about defensive driving and self-defense for men and women.
At the end of the night ride-along with Malavet he asked where this writer lived and offered her a ride home. Being so late at night and very cold it was a kind gesture, and it was apparent he would have done this for any student, whether that student were walking home drunk from a party or asking him questions all night.
Lindsey Arceci can be contacted at