Are they out to get you?

Laura Haatvedt

Laura Haatvedt

In a study composed, conducted and compiled by statistics students of Dr. Zeno Wicks last year, the majority of students surveyed expressed the feeling that young people are being targeted by the Brookings Police Department.

Out of 760 students surveyed, 449 responded “definitely.” Only 2.1 percent of students surveyed responded with a flat-out “no.”

Sophomore Will Zakrajshek agrees with the majority in feeling that he and his peers are targeted by police.

“They make the most money off of us,”Zakrajshek said.

Brookings Police Chief Tim Tompkins isn’t surprised that students feel targeted, although he maintains that problems are being targeted, rather than people.

“I don’t really know how to respond to that.[the results of the survey],”Tompkins said. “It’s understandable, certainly. And a large percentage of our calls deal with noise complaints due to house parties involving college students.”

Tompkins emphasized that the police force was targeting the complaints, many of which involve college students.

“They pull us over for stupid things,” Zakrajshek said.

Like many others, Zakrajshek feels he is being unfairly picked on.

“Nine times out of 10, the officer has never seen them before and will never see them again,” Tompkins said. “Yet people still feel that they are being picked on for police.”

But Tompkins believes that it’s more than just young people who feel that they are being picked on, because oftentimes, adults will make the same statements when pulled over for speeding.

“I am more concerned as to why students especially feel that way,” Tompkins said. “We need more information and more input.”

Tompkins is in the early stages of conducting his own survey in an attempt to remedy a solution to these questions and more.

The survey will be handed out to both community members and college students alike.

“I have to answer to the entire community,” Tompkins said. “Our first priority is to protect society as a whole.”

The department is concerned with confronting issues such as drunk driving, which sometimes goes hand in hand with citing drunk drivers for underage drinking.

“We’re not out to ruin anyone’s party,”Tompkins said.”But it’s not up to me to decide whether something is right or wrong. I am handed a rulebook, and I just have to enforce the rules. It’s almost like shooting the messenger.”

Still Zakrajshek and other students feel targeted when they can’t drive a block without passing a patrol car on a Thursday evening.

“Student’s see the University Police Department all the time, but there doesn’t seem to be much separation,” Tompkins said. “You know, when students get parking tickets, we [Brookings Police Department] have nothing to do with that.”

Tompkins has only been in Brookings for about a year now, but he has worked in college communities his entire career.

He feels confrontation cannot be avoided.

“In a college town, it’s hard to get away from it,” Tompkins said.

#1.886835:3336238597.jpg:copstory.jpg:One of Brookings? finest patrols Main Avenue late at night. A survey conducted on campus showed that the majority of SDSU students believe they are being targeted unfairly by the local law enforcement.: