A glimpse behind the Cal State Fullerton police badge

CSUF University Police officer Hollyfield communicates with a police dispatcher on campus.
CSUF University Police officer Hollyfield communicates with a police dispatcher on campus.

Originally published by the Daily Titan on April 24, 2013 here. Photos and text by Tim Worden.

University Police Officer Hollyfield, callsign “307,” gets a call at 11:07 a.m.

“307, there’s a girl in the library, she’s passed out,” the police dispatcher says.

Hollyfield, at University Police’s parking lot north of the Titan Student Union, immediately starts her police car’s engine.

She zooms out from the station as the dispatcher tells her the girl is in a bathroom on the north wing and is conscious and breathing.

Hollyfield speeds south down the street to the TSU, then pops onto the sidewalk near the Titan Walk and flips on her police car’s lights, going “Code 3.” She puts the sirens on an intermittent setting, since full sirens attract too much attention on a busy campus.

Students veer to the side to let her pass, but Hollyfield honks at one guy who appears not to notice her car.

She parks at the west entrance of the Pollak Library and jogs inside. She checks the first-floor bathroom, but no luck (the dispatcher did not specify which floor).

She walks upstairs and finds the girl at 11:12 a.m.

“The response time for them was fast,” an onlooking librarian says.

Officer Hollyfield, in the department’s black short-sleeve uniform, waits with the girl and her friend until paramedics arrive, at 11:22 a.m.

“You didn’t pass out, you just fell?” a paramedic asks.

“Yeah,” the girl says.

EMTs check the girl’s vitals and transport her via a stretcher to the library’s loading docks.

Officer Hollyfield makes sure the girl has her cell phone with her before she is transported to the hospital.

“She probably has that horrible flu virus that’s going around,” Hollyfield says as she makes her way back to her car.

Hollyfield drives back to University Police headquarters, a cozy four-year-old building that services Cal State Fullerton’s nationally accredited police department, which has the full authority of a police agency to make arrests. The station has a briefing room, a lecture room, two overnight jail cells and an interrogation room.

Hollyfield, a three-year-veteran of the department and a Titan alumna who attended Cal State Fullerton as a human services major on a basketball scholarship, catches up with her partner, Officer Bridgewaters, a young officer who has been with the department a year and a half.

She drives to Lot E near the dorms for an area check, meaning she looks for suspicious activity.

Car Crash
A student was transported to the hospital after her car was T-boned in a two-car crash at CSUF on April 15, 2013.

Police officers also deal with car crashes on campus, as these officers check out a damaged car; the driver of this car was hospitalized. Photo by Tim Worden.[/caption]

Finishing, she exits campus (University Police’s jurisdiction includes a one-mile radius outside campus).

She spots a man with sunglasses talking on his cell phone while driving at the Yorba Linda Boulevard and Placentia Avenue intersection. She flashes her lights and pulls him over.

She takes his information and walks back to her car to write his citation as Officer Bridgewaters pulls up for backup. For safety, officers try to work in pairs. Bridgewaters stands behind the open passenger door of her car to watch the man while Hollyfield records his information.

“Info only, he’s been keeping eyes on (us) the whole time,” cautions Bridgewaters, Officer Hollyfield’s partner since February.

Finishing the citation, Hollyfield gets another call, at 12:37 p.m. An elderly woman is in need of medical aid at the Ruby Gerontology Center.

She zooms to campus and drives onto the sidewalk next to the Arboretum to get to the center.

She makes sure the woman is OK and prepares the scene for the paramedics, who arrive 10 minutes later and transport her to the hospital.

A friend of the woman says he will meet the woman at the hospital. “Are they gonna’ run code?” he says, referring to the ambulance driving with lights and sirens.

The officers say no and the man leaves.

“‘Run code?’ Where’d he learn that lingo?” Hollyfield says, laughing.

“Little do we know he’s a 30-year sheriff,” Bridgewaters jokes.

The officers are called back to the station around 1 p.m. It’s Thursday, three days after the Boston bombings, and Cal State Los Angeles just received a bomb threat. The police lieutenant (the department’s third-ranking position) coordinates a plan for CSUF.

Officer Hollyfield goes on a foot patrol around campus. A police presence, or proactive policing, has a two-fold purpose, she says: It deters potential criminals and it makes the community feel safe.

“Our number one goal is the safety of our students, faculty and staff,” she says.

Hollyfield walks down the Titan Walk and talks to a local vendor who is selling oranges. She greets students and a candidate in the ASI elections.

She says this—being part a positive member of the campus community—is what being a police officer is all about.

“I think it’s important to get out there and talk to people,” Hollyfield says as she walks around the Quad. “We want people to know that we’re not just out there to get bad guys.”

Officer Hollyfield, left, and Officer Bridgewaters catch up after a medical aid call.
Officer Hollyfield, left, and Officer Bridgewaters catch up after a medical aid call.
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