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Tuesday, November 24, 2009.

Sheriff’s deputies to start policing AVC campus

A week after a contracted security guard was attacked on the Antelope Valley College campus, college trustees on Monday unanimously approved a contract to have the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department provide police services for the campus starting Jan. 1, 2010.

“We’re basically a community within ourselves,” board President Jack Seefus said of the 16,000-student college. “It’s something that must be done.”

The college’s student trustee, David Brown, opposed the contract as did an attorney representing the classified employees union.

The attorney, David Myers, said he had serious concerns over the district contracting out for work that had been handled by two union members. He claimed the costs of campus security would double or triple due to the contract.

Brown claimed the district security, which includes a contract with Regional Patrol Services and employment of two officers by the district, is sufficient. To spend more on security, would leave less money available to offer classes for students, according to Brown.

Board Clerk Steve Fox, who has been outspoken in his support for a district-based police force, accepted the deal with the sheriff’s department saying: “I’d rather have this than nothing.”

The contract calls for the college to spend $1.5 million a year, which includes three full-time deputies and a part-time sergeant, plus another 13 armed security officers employed by the department as well as student cadets to staff a front desk. In addition, there is another $101,153 in start-up costs, which includes communications gear and T3 personal mobility vehicles.

The department currently offers contract law enforcement services to the nine campuses of the Los Angeles Community College District and 40 cities, including Lancaster and Palmdale.

The proposal touts the ability of the sheriff’s department to relieve college officials of the day-to-day burden of managing policing operations. In addition, the department would provide emergency response planning and training.

A sheriff’s sergeant would manage daily operations, with management support from the Lancaster sheriff’s station command staff, under the direction of Capt. Axel Anderson. Deputies would work day and evening shifts, Monday through Saturday.

Security officers working for the sheriff’s department would provide 24-hour-a-day coverage, seven days a week.