Located across the street from campus on Pacific Avenue is the Forest Grove Police Department (FGPD).
As a college student, some might dread or even fear going near an authority figure for the stereotypical reasons of getting busted or the police ruining the fun at off-campus parties, but the police in the Forest Grove Community want to assure students they are there as a resource to help them when needed.
“We want students to understand that we are there to serve and protect them,” Lauren Quinsland, community outreach specialist for the FGPD said. “Just having a presence on campus, especially in light of events that have happened the last couple of years, a message we really want to promote and encourage is understanding that we are there for students.”
And establishing a presence at Pacific University is exactly what Quinsland and the rest of the department plan to do this semester.
Last March, The Pacific Index hosted Coffee With a Cop, an event where students, faculty and staff were encouraged to talk and enjoy a free cup of coffee in starbucks with the police. During this event, the police, the captain and chief included, were able to touch base with about 125 people.
“I think education and awareness is really the biggest thing we can do now,” Quinsland said.
So far this year, the police department has already started becoming more involved with Pacific, beginning with freshmen orientation. The FGPD ran a program, along with Campus Public Safety, where they did activities like drunk goggles and handed out informational brochures in the orientation packets.
“It kinda hits at the fact that a lot of the time you come to Pacific and you forget you live in Forest Grove,” Quinsland said. “Your impact here at the college is going to effect businesses, it’s going to effect the parking problem and it’s going to cause noise complaints. We want to encourage students to know the ordinances, know what an MIP (Minor in Possession) is; people don’t [even] know when quiet hours are.”
Shannon Humphrey, code enforcement officer for the FGPD, issued 15 parking tickets on the second day of school this year in the two hour parking zone on College Way. She wants students to learn about parking ordinances, learn about marijuana laws off campus and to inform students about car break ins because she notices many leave purses and backpacks in plain sight, seeing it as “too inviting for people.”
She said another thing students are not aware of is that street parking has a 72 hour rule where the driver must move their vehicle 300 feet away and she notices people will move their car but it will not be the distance stated in the city ordinance.
“I couldn’t ethically ticket it because 99 percent of the population of Forest Grove doesn’t know that,” Humphrey said. “My philosophy is if I can gain compliance through the training, education and awareness piece, then I have done a better job than ticketing somebody.”
So this year, the Forest Grove Police Department plans to have another Coffee With a Cop event that will be held in early October in Starbucks during lunch time.
“Come, say hi, learn about bike safety, learn about sexual assault, learn about other ordinances and things like that,” Quinsland said. “Get free coffee, free coffee is always nice.”