The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

LAPD: Student Citations on the Rise

An increasing number of citations have recently been issued to students around campus, giving the Los Altos Police Department (LAPD) ample reason to stress law enforcement against violations made by these individuals. Several students have been caught and ticketed accordingly for driving illegally and biking without helmets. The growing number of individuals engaging in these types of misconduct has lead to substantial police and administrative involvement in these areas.

“Our goal is to make sure there is safety on the streets,” School Resource Officer Mark Laranjo said.

“We direct our efforts towards the areas that have the most traffic, just to make sure that [they] are safe.”

Administrators said that the LAPD does a good job of keeping students aware of safety issues as well as maintaining control over them.

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“I personally love cops around school,” Assistant Principal Cristy Dawson said. “They raise the awareness of student driving. High school is notorious for these forms of [misconduct], so [police] are really helpful in creating a positive influence on campus.”

Although the administration appreciates the LAPD’s efforts, several students who have been personally affected do not.

“In my opinion, the recent police increase is pointless because [the police] are mostly just ticketing bikers since nothing interesting ever happens in Los Altos,” junior Giovanni Ibarra said.

In general, the action taken as of now by the LAPD has been viewed positively by authorities.

“Educating the public tends to make people more aware of their surroundings,” Laranjo said. “That’s the purpose behind the whole citation. It’s to educate the public and have safer roads.”

However, students often feel like these intentions are poorly executed and believe that the police department should focus on something other than minor law violations made by students.

These experiences often relate to students who received a citation for biking or skateboarding without a helmet.

Junior Mitch Kehlet found himself in a similar situation, receiving a $165 citation for long-boarding without a helmet.

“I understand that they’re trying to ‘save lives,’ but I really don’t think my life was in danger at all, riding slowly on the sidewalk,” Mitch said.

Mitch felt as if the police officer who issued him a citation for not wearing a helmet merely wanted to “fill his [ticketing] quota and in doing so “had set traps for students.”
“I still believe [the police are] there because they don’t have anything better to do,” Mitch said.

Junior Mikey Vendelin also received a citation in a similar situation and felt as if the police officer he encountered had no true intention to stop him.

“Maybe he was in the ticketing mood because he had just ticketed some car on my street, or maybe it’s because the Los Altos police have nothing better to do,” Mikey said. “I agree with them that helmets are important if you don’t want to die, but I’m at that age where I know traffic laws and the dangers of riding [during the] day versus [the] night, or in residential areas versus expressway-type roads.”

Administrators, however, view the LAPD with gratitude.

“Anything that’s going to cause [students] to behave is good,” Dawson said. “If [students] are to be ticketed and this causes them to be more cautious while driving, [ticketing] is necessary.”

The LAPD and school administration are working together to achieve a single goal, ensuring the safety of students.

“The security of our children is the most important,” Dawson said. “The psychology of having the same officers [around campus] is really great because it builds relationships [between students and the police].”

The increase in citations around campus is the LAPD’s response to unsafe student behavior, and is an attempt to stop this labeled misconduct through education.
“Our goal is not to make high school students’ lives miserable,” Laranjo said. “Our goal is to educate the public.”

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