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Commentary: School Police To Limit Off-Campus Enforcement

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, November 11, 2011

Last March, a Twin Rivers School District police sergeant sent out emails, advising officers to tow four vehicles every day. That email was withdrawn, only to be replaced with another advising school police to make four vehicle stops and four pedestrian stops a day.  Both directives reinforce the image of a rogue police department more interested in collecting revenue than protecting students. 

The Twin Rivers School District collects $200 in fees every time one of its officers orders a car towed. Last year, police raked in $45,000 in towing fees. That means Twin Rivers towed 225 cars last year, almost five per week. Residents say most cars were towed because of expired tags.  How do expired tags threaten campus security?

For poor residents, tow charges on top of bloated traffic fines plus a fee to the school district can be devastating. It also breeds contempt and anger for the Twin Rivers Police Department and the school district.

The announced change in policy is a good thing, but for the safety of officers and residents, more is needed. A credible independent body needs to take an in-depth look at the Twin Rivers Police Department. Does the school district really need its own police force?


Ginger Rutland writes for The Sacramento Bee opinion pages.

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