College to consider laying off campus police
Solano Community College will consider laying off its police officers next semester, possibly considering private security guards for some or all of campus security.
Police staff received an email in late November from a representative of their union, informing police staff of the possible layoff.
“I don’t see eliminating the campus police officers being the solution to saving a few cents, which won’t be worth all the downside and the negative ramifications,” said senior SCC police officer Joe Ramos, and Stationary Engineers Union Local 39 member.
The SCC police staff consists of four full-time officers, two part-time officers, one parking attendant and two administrative personnel.
The issue will be presented to the college governing board in January, the letter said. If approved, the board will issue a 45-day layoff notice to the police staff.
“We are looking at it as a cost saving possibility vs. service,” said Peter Bostic, executive director of institutional advancement.
“There are other issues in addition to cost that would be looked at as well,” Bostic said. “How quick could armed law enforcement officers get here if we only have unarmed officers? Some people prefer less armed on campus. Some people want more armed on campus. Everything is a possibility. A blending of Guardian Angels are a possibility,” Bostic said, referring to the volunteer organization.
“We don’t know what we’re doing right now, but looking at potential models of law enforcement on campus,” Bostic said.
“We’re exploring different models,” said Yulian Ligioso, vice president of finance and administration. “This particular item has been on what’s called the People and Things ‘to do’ list
for probably two to three years, so I’m just following up on that,” Ligioso said.
Ligioso said he did not know how much money might be saved, or how much the current police department costs.
“We’ll be presenting, discussing different options,” Ligioso said. “If we can effectively embrace technology to assist in the security and safety aspect and maybe go to a different type of model, from police department to security, then it might be cheaper,” Ligioso said.
“Obviously we want to maintain the level of service, maintain a safe and secure campus.”
Ramos, a 10-year veteran of the SCCPD, said that with unarmed security, if an incident did take place on the campus that the sheriff’s department would be called.
Laura Strand, business representative of the Stationary Engineers Union Local 39, said in an email to The Tempest that the Solano County Sheriff’s Department would unlikely be able to provide a level of service that the SCC officers currently provide.
“If the district believes that they can rely upon the Solano County Sheriff’s Office to be the first responder for calls for assistance, that is quite an optimistic assumption,” Strand said.
“It will compromise the safety of the campus,” Ramos said. “You won’t be able to get the appropriate help when needed.”
Ramos said the Solano police department already has the lowest paid officers of the community colleges.
“We’ve already taken cuts over the years” Ramos said. “We’ve lost officers that were never replaced, we’ve lost graveyard shifts, and we’ve already been cut into, significantly. In other words, we are operating at bare bones.”
Ramos says he doesn’t expect severance pay. “I don’t know what the final negotiations will be if it gets to that point, but based on what’s already happened, you get your 45-day pink slip and that’s it,” Ramos said. “As far as severance pay, we’ll be in the unemployment line like everyone else.”