Written by Joshua A. Hughes
I vividly remember my first encounter with SUPD. It was in the fall of my first year at Southwestern, and I had just parked outside of Mabee after a late-night trip to get Jack-in-the-Box tacos. As I’m stepping out of my car to walk back to my dorm, who should I see but our police chef, Dee Brown. I tried to keep her from seeing me, but she drove her cart right next to my car and she did something that surprised me. She stepped out of her cart and said, “One of your headlights is burned out. You should really get that changed; Georgetown cops can be real sticklers about stuff like that.”
Okay, those were not her exact words, obviously, but what she said was to that effect. The younger me was shocked.
Cops were supposed to be mean. They were supposed to write tickets. They were supposed to be generally unpleasant people (I never lived in Los Angeles, for people that are wondering at this point, it was just the impression that I had always had). But here was a cop who was looking out for me, trying to help me.
I figured that it must have been a fluke; surely Chief Brown was just in a good mood. But I was wrong, SUPD really is that easy-going. I know that some people have had trouble with them. I have one poor friend who was written a ticket while walking the 100 feet from a party to his dorm with a red cup in his hand. They even gave me a ticket for backing my car into a curbed spot last year (apparently this is illegal; you are supposed to pull forward into curbed parking spots. Who knew). But I also know that there are times when something will have to hit SUPD in the face before they will do anything about it.
They will come to an apartment to tell everyone to keep the noise down, but decide that they have better things to do then look into all of those empty beer bottles sitting in front of students that may or may not be 21.
They never question what you’re doing strolling around the campus alone at 3:30 in the morning. They just want to make sure that no one ends up dancing nude in the fountain on a Tuesday night after one too many glasses of honey wine.
I recently had an incident with SUPD that renewed my faith that they are cooler than Wil-Co PD.
I had lit the charcoals briquettes inside of my grill on my DLC patio, and I was inside waiting for them to be ready. Then I heard the SUPD knock on the door. Anyone who has ever been paid a visit by SUPD knows the knock, it is very loud and emphatic – a real attention-getter. I then opened the door and asked the officer standing at my threshold what the problem was, and he responded, “You know you’ve got a fire on your patio out there?”
Now I knew full well that there was a fire – I had set it – so naturally my reply was an unintentionally smart-assed “Yes, yes I do.”
He proceeded to tell me what a poor (and again, illegal) idea this was, and we went outside where he shared some of the fire safety information that he had learned in his 35 years as a fire marshal. He didn’t write me a ticket, though – and by the end of our conversation, he was even being nice to me, suggesting places where I could place my grill without endangering SU’s fancy new building.
SUPD can even be helpful! I needed to call them for help earlier this year when I got locked out of my room in my apartment.
Getting locked out of your room is not normally a big deal, but there is no key to the DLC bedrooms; they are the types of doors that are supposed to unlock whenever the handle is opened, so it was supposed to be impossible to lock yourself out of them. Supposed to be.
So after finding that the RA could not help me, SUPD came to see what they could do. SUPD didn’t have any ideas on how to open the door either, but they tried! They proceeded to try to jam different objects (including a kitchen knife and my Borders Rewards card) into the handle and the door jam, and when that didn’t work they called the maintenance worker who was apparently the one person who has the tool to open these doors.
It may take some time to get used to what I’m sure will be generally unpleasant law-enforcement officers in comparison to the affable SUPD, but I’m glad that I’ve had the chance to an okay 5-0 for at least a few years.