Campus police at Pierce College exchanged their khaki clothes for more traditional blue uniforms and painted their formerly white cars black and white this semester, and the greater visibility apparently has paid off.
Crime and traffic violations are down, said Police Capt. Ken Renolds, who heads the Pierce police force.
While crime was reported on the first day of classes last year, Renolds said, not one incident has been reported during the first two weeks of the 1992-93 school year, which began Aug. 24.
In the past, he said, campus officers with their white cars and khaki uniforms were often regarded as "just security guards."
"The people who were born and raised here, all they know is black and white vehicles and blue uniforms," Renolds said.
"Motorists were passing through stop signs right in front of our white vehicles. We were constantly questioned about our authority to pull them over."
The Los Angeles Community College District Police Department has the same authority on and around the campuses as the Los Angeles Police Department, he said.
Motorists who work in Warner Center and frequently use the Pierce campus as a shortcut to bypass the De Soto Avenue and Victory Boulevard intersections used to "completely ignore the traffic regulations," even in plain sight of the campus police vehicles, Renolds said.
But now that campus police look more like municipal police officers, motorists take more care to obey the law, Renolds said.
"It's like a little miracle," he said. "People are obeying the stop signs. Traffic citations have gone down."
Renolds said Pierce officers have written half the number of traffic citations as last semester.
Also, the campus police force has been increased with the hiring of an additional full-time officer and four other full-time officers to replace former part-timers.
Two of the officers, Michael Phipps and David Rowe, began their duties at Pierce Sept. 14. The other three will start after a 17-week training session at the Rio Hondo Police Academy.
"Once the three officers are out of the academy, we will have more officers during the school week than in the past," Renolds said.