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Saturday, March 6, 2021

Columns

UHPD deserves more respect


File photo/The Daily Cougar

File photo/The Daily Cougar

As a result of the criminal activity throughout the semester, particularly the robberies in outlaying parking lots, the UH Police Department officers have been under much scrutiny. Likewise, students have been vocal about their displeasure with them. Some of these students have become rude and disrespectful, going as far as comparing the campus police officers to mall cops.

Despite the good police officers do around campus, which often goes unrecognized, like the police officer who fished a student’s iPad out of a portable toilet barehanded, students decide to focus solely on the negative.

Students should back off a little. The men and women of the UHPD are officers of the law, not psychics. They cannot predict when, where and by whom a crime is going to happen.

Police officers have a difficult job. They have to deal with people questioning and criticizing their every move. For example, people questioned why did they not add more security after the first robbery and why it took so long to catch the suspect.

The reality is nobody expected another robbery within days of the first. It is understandable that victims of the robberies could not recollect explicit details about their robbers, and so it should be equally reasonable that the police officer cannot do much with vague details. Chasing down every African-American of average height and with short dreadlocks wouldn’t accomplish anything.

Contrary to popular belief, campus police officers are not the same as mall cops. According to the Texas Education Code Sec. 51.203, they are vested with all the powers, privileges and immunities of peace officers and must be a certified police officer under the requirements of the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officers and Standards. Translation: they are very real officers with real handcuffs and every right to jail anyone breaks the law.

It is also important to note that they are also real people. As police officers, it is their duty to deal with everything that comes with their job, but as people, odds are they sometimes get tired of constantly being criticized.

It is easy to complain about things we don’t understand and think we can do better. But rather than complain about the time it takes to detain suspects, those complainers should better spend their time coming up with solutions to the problems. It is easy to complain, but much more difficult to fix and address those complaints.

Mónica Rojas is a journalism freshman and may be reached at [email protected]

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