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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    A night with UAPD

    Arizona Daily Wildcat reporter Michael Ross is escorted by UAPD officer Johnny Lollar through a routine evening shift. There are anywhere between five and 15 officers on duty patrolling campus at any given time.
    Arizona Daily Wildcat reporter Michael Ross is escorted by UAPD officer Johnny Lollar through a routine evening shift. There are anywhere between five and 15 officers on duty patrolling campus at any given time.

    Although the UA sits near a major metropolitan downtown area, crime on campus is kept to a minimum, with an overall crime rate lower than the city of Tucson, said University of Arizona Police Department officials.

    Fourteen violent crimes were committed on campus in 2005, out of a campus of 36,932 students. In Tucson, which has a population of 529,447, about 5,048 violent crimes occurred, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports.

    Officers patrolling the campus play a large role in preventing crime, but the willingness of students and faculty to report suspicious activity makes the campus safe, said Frank Romero, a UAPD crime prevention specialist.

    “”That’s our plan of attack,”” Romero said. “”Getting everybody involved.””

    UAPD reaches out to students by assigning officer liaisons to each residence hall, fraternity and sorority on campus to get to know the students better, Romero said.

    “”It’s easier to report a crime if they’re talking to Frank rather than Officer Romero,”” Romero said.

    The Arizona Daily Wildcat rode along with UAPD officer Johnny Lollar during his Friday evening patrol to get a glimpse into a night with UAPD.

    9:01 p.m. For the first hour of the patrol, Lollar toured the campus’ parking lots, garages and bike racks, using the car’s spotlight to see in the darkness.

    “”It’s unusually quiet tonight,”” Lollar said. “”Maybe because it’s parents’ night.””

    However, Lollar said something would happen.

    He likes to drive through each major garage at least twice a night, he said.

    “”It’s kind of fun to read some of the bumper stickers when we come through here,”” he said.

    9:40 p.m. An “”attempt-to-locate”” call came over the radio, reporting that a car, which appeared to be driven by an intoxicated person, was heading toward East Broadway Boulevard and North Euclid Avenue.

    10:03 p.m. A call came in from another UAPD patrol car, reporting three suspicious people in a car parked in the Hillel Center parking lot, located near North Mountain Avenue and East Second Street.

    Lollar hit the accelerator and pulled into the lot with three other UAPD vehicles within a minute.

    Lollar and another officer positioned themselves 10 yards away from the three people, ready for any erratic actions.

    When the officers identified the three people by using a patrol car’s computer system connected wirelessly to dispatch, they found one man had a warrant for his arrest.

    The other officers on scene patted the man down and handcuffed him to avoid violence.

    Shortly after Lollar left the lot, one officer reported he may have observed drug-related items in the parked car.

    “”You just don’t know what you’re going to encounter,”” Lollar said.

    10:21 p.m. Lollar confronted a man and a woman trying to fill up their car from a portable gas tank in the parking lot at East Sixth Street and North Cherry Avenue.

    Lollar asked the two if they needed help.

    The people said they had borrowed the car from a friend, and the gas tank was leaking.

    “”Small world,”” Lollar said as he sat down in the police car to identify the people with the car’s computer. “”This man’s from the same town I’m from.””

    However, the computer check soon revealed that the woman, who said she was going to drive the car after the gas was in the tank, did not have a driver’s license like she claimed. The woman’s license had been suspended.

    “”She was playing the word game,”” Lollar said.

    Lollar called a cab for the two people and arranged for the owner of the vehicle to pick up the car.

    10:54 p.m. Lollar pulled into the Circle K parking lot on East Speedway Boulevard and North Park Avenue to take a break and pick up snacks.

    However, after exiting the Circle K, Lollar saw a man sitting outside who has a reputation for having warrants out for his arrest.

    Lollar confronted the individual.

    Although he was familiar with the man’s criminal record, Lollar greeted him much like an old friend.

    Lollar later said that the man is normally a great person, but he can cause problems when he is in a certain mood.

    “”They’re still a person,”” Lollar said. “”You still have to treat them like you want to be treated.””

    It turned out that the man had no warrant for his arrest that night, so the patrol continued.

    11:03 p.m. Lollar spotted a flashing blue light from the emergency blue-light phone east of the Eddie Lynch Athletic Pavilion.

    “”We get a lot of suspicious activity calls from those,”” Lollar said.

    When the button on a blue-light phone is pushed, it sends a 911 call to UAPD dispatch.

    The blue lights are useful because they stand out at night, Lollar said.

    But when he reached the phone, Lollar found the light was flickering, about to go out, instead of flashing a warning.

    Lollar arranged for the light to be fixed.

    11:45 p.m. Lollar arrived back at the UAPD compound.

    “”We’re code11, mileage 4,127,”” Lollar said as he drove through the gate.

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