Over Labor Day weekend, I was provided the opportunity to witness, first hand, our Chico PD at work. I went on a ride-along Saturday night until the wee hours of the morning. I’m going to preface this piece by saying not all college students exhibit this behavior. But, like a lot of things, a few bad apples end up impacting the rest of the lot. It’s sad, but true.
Before we left, I was given a quick tour of the Chico Police facility located on Humboldt Road. Most notable was the holding cell where subjects are brought until sobered up or transported to the County jail. Suffice it to say, I’ll never complain about camping again. I’d rather poop in the woods than have to poop staring through cell bars. I’d suggest avoiding that location entirely.
We embarked on our journey focusing on college town—you know, the area where the City of Chico spends a whopping $1 million a year keeping things under control. While I drive through this neighborhood every day on my way to the office, somehow I expected things to be sparkling under the evening moon. Hey, I was just hoping to get something visible for my million bucks’ worth. What I got were remnants of burnt couches, broken glass and the ubiquitous red party cups littered across yards.
It didn’t take long to notice the number of law enforcement on patrol. In cars and on foot, it was a heavy mix of our own Chico PD, Highway Patrol, and ABC officers in town to help keep the peace on this notoriously busy weekend—and it comes with a hefty price tag. Police officers greeted party-cats with “hellos” and, when appropriate, “Let’s move along.” They were patient with crowds and worked to head off any potential trouble they saw looming. Speaking of patient—I’d like to point something out that, while not surprising, still caused a jaw-dropping response from this writer: drinking makes some of you complete ass-hats, and results in unprovoked comments to the police, for which you really should be slapped. While the police are incredibly patient and tolerate stupidity and rude behavior from drunken buffoons regularly, I propose we create the “Maturity Patrol’’ that follows behind and does some serious bitch-slapping and soap-in-the-mouth washing. Do you talk to your mother with that mouth? Remember, you get back the level of respect you put out. It’s common-sense-101. But I digress…
On the bright side, I witnessed friends helping their inebriated buddies home, and guys giving girls piggyback rides to help their aching feet (tip: wear cute flats and leave the 5” blister-makers at home). Many parties were kept small, and some hosts made calls to the police to help break up the celebrations they felt were getting out of control. Unfortunately, there were still fights, unwieldy crowds, and the intoxicated dingbats who say and do things they should be ashamed of.
Probably one of the most disturbing things I took away from my experience is that far too many young women still walk home alone, in the dark, head down, along dark streets, texting away, completely oblivious to their surroundings. They may has well have a big V stamped on their forehead for “Victim.” Come on, ladies, use your heads. It generally costs less than $10 to go anywhere in Chico by taxi. At the very least, please keep your head up and be alert.
Thank you to Chico PD for allowing me the opportunity to see what you do. It was an eye-opening experience, and one I’ll never forget.