Will security give your vehicle “the boot?”

in News by

Cherie Suonvieri | Managing Editor

Published in The Clarion 2014 – 2015

Nearly everyone on Bethel’s campus has seen one — a car plastered with parking violation slips, immobilized by a yellow contraption on the wheel. This yellow contraption, known by most as a boot, is removable only by the supervising officers of Campus Security and Safety. The answer to what warrants immobilization of a vehicle is, in short — it depends.

According to Chief of Campus Security and Safety Andrew Luchsinger, a vehicle will be immobilized any time an officer needs to follow up directly with a driver. These circumstances could include instances of reckless driving or multiple accounts of violation attached to the vehicle.

Contrary to popular opinion, there is no fine associated with the immobilization itself, so supervising officers are authorized to do so at their discretion. To date, there have been 103 immobilizations this academic year, Luchsinger said. In addition, of the 1,525 citations written, 67 percent have been warnings.

Putting to rest what he considers another common misconception, Luchsinger explained that the revenue collected from issued fines is deposited into a general account for Bethel — not for Security. Money from this fund is put toward scholarships and grants for students, among other things.

“I am very pleased this is the case, as it greatly reduces any financial motivation for our department to issue citations since those funds are not for our use,” Luchsinger said.

During the 2014-15 academic year alone, $11,945 in security- issued fines has been placed in this account.

The current graduated fine system was implemented in 2012 in an effort to bring the focus on repeat offenders. Under this system, most offenses are met with warnings for first time violations and increasing fines for any repeat violations.

The fine schedule is largely automated, so when an officer enters a violation, he or she is unaware of the fine amount. A complete fine schedule can be found online.

There are times, however, that the fine schedule is not used. During the “Share the Love” campaign over the week of Valentine’s Day, Security issued 55 citations — all of them warnings.

“It was one way of trying to spread some happiness and joy throughout the community,” Luchsinger said.

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