Yes, it does have a Hemi-and a whole lot more. Yuba College Police Chief Chris Wilkinson recently replaced the department’s old Ford Taurus, purchased in 1995, with a new 2004 Dodge Ram 2500, a multi-purpose truck that is fully loaded.
“With the new truck, I myself feel that I can serve students and staff better,” Wilkinson said.
According to Dodge Ram’s website, the Dodge Ram 2500 is “part of the most powerful line of trucks.” The truck is also listed as best-in-class in towing, payload capacity and interior room. The website also announces, “We’ve loaded this truck with enough equipment to tackle every job.”
Some Yuba College students feel that such a high-end truck is not really needed on the campus. “The truck isn’t really necessary,” said Tamica Crowder, Yuba College sophomore. “Yuba College doesn’t have any hills.”
However, Wilkinson feels the truck purchase is justified. The new truck will be used to transport items such as lost property, cones and equipment, he said. “With an extended warranty on the new truck, it can be replaced if anything happens,” Wilkinson continued.
In 1995, Yuba College purchased a used Taurus to help meet the needs of the college Police Department.
However, showing an inch thick stack of bills, Wilkinson said that the Taurus was getting too expensive to maintain. After years of hassles with the Taurus, Wilkinson requested a new vehicle.
The Dodge Ram was purchased with unrestricted funds, reported Paul Mendoza, Vice President of Student Services. Mendoza also indicated that another police vehicle may be purchased with unrestricted funds for the district by late August or early September, depending on the college budget.
Unrestricted funds are funds that may be expended for any general purpose, according to the Yuba Community College District Budget Handbook. Some students feel that those funds could have been put to better use.
Yuba College sophomore Heather Sutton argued, “There are other things here on campus that should have been taken care of before a new truck was purchased. The parking lots are in such terrible shape that they should have been reconstructed first.”
The used Ford Taurus will be given to the Woodland campus, where the Police Department has had no transportation. In the past, Woodland had only security officers on its campus.
However, at the March 3 Board meeting, the Yuba College Trustees granted permission to begin the hiring process of a full-time Woodland campus police officer. Because the Attorney General concluded that security officers employed by community college districts are not peace officers and may only exercise non-peace officer powers, Woodland’s security officers were stripped of all law enforcement equipment, authorized to wear only soft body armor and the district-issued Nextel telephone.
The new full-time police officer will have greater powers than the security officers had on the Woodland campus.
Wilkinson has been Yuba College Police Chief since September 15, 2003. Since he has been employed as police chief, Wilkinson has replaced the department’s computers, printers and fax machine. The Department’s former equipment was so old, according to
Wilkinson, it absolutely had to be replaced.
“Now with the new equipment we have gotten, work is done more efficiently and is professional looking,” Police Chief Wilkinson stated.