The protectors of El Camino College


El Camino Police Department chief of police Michael Trevis explains the purpose of and how to use the emergency polls, or blue police polls, on campus, on Wednesday, Oct. 24. Photo credit: Melanie Chacon

His warm smile and firm handshake describe a man who is sensitive, yet stern.

He is both welcoming and deeply astute.

He’s spent 45 years on the job, and says he has not tired one bit.

Michael Trevis is the chief of police at the El Camino College Police Department.

Trevis said it is the ECPD’s job to “to maintain our campus in a safe environment so that students can learn, and teachers can teach, and staff can do their job feeling safe.”

ECPD is budgeted for, and currently employs, 12 police officers, two sergeants, one lieutenant, and one chief of police.

Each of these individuals patrol EC campus around the clock, daily.

The ECPD budget comes from a few different sources of revenue: parking permits, daily permits, parking citations, parking for special events, such as football games and performances, and the EC general fund pays the remaining balance each year.

The EC police are trained and maintained as any other police agency.

ECPD has it’s own Police Academy, which new hires are put through once they have completed the application and testing process.

EC also employs roughly 15-20 cadets year round.

Trevis has a lot of pride in his officers and cadets on campus.

“When we respond, we respond with sensitivity, courtesy, and respect. We know that. This is a campus environment,” Trevis said. “Our officers not only get that basic 16-20 weeks of training, but we also get one additional week of campus law enforcement training, and that focuses on sensitivity.”

Trevis said that for a community colleges, it is a state law that there are two police officers to every 2,000 students.

El Camino qualifies under this law.

According to the ECC Annual Fact Book 2016-17, there were 24,092 students enrolled in classes in the fall of 2016.

Comparatively, according to Santa Monica College Fast Facts, there were 30,830 student enrolled in fall of 2016.

Santa Monica College Police Department’s Sgt. Brian Wilson said that currently, the SMCPD employs 13 police officers, three sergeants, one captain, and one chief.

SMCPD also employs six security guards and and six parking enforcement officers.

SMCPD does have a cadet program, however, Sgt. Wilson said that there are no cadets that have enrolled in their program this semester.

According to the El Camino College’s website, the El Camino Police Department has an active Police Cadet Program that plays a vital role in providing quality police services to the community.

The police cadets are El Camino College students who work part-time for the department while attending EC.

Cristopher Parada, a former ECPD cadet, and current community service officer, (he recently received a promotion as CSO, the highest position as a cadet), says he’s likes working at EC and he’s learned a lot.


“[Working at EC] has helped me interact more with people because there’s a different variety of students [here]…,” Parada, 23, fire and emergency technology major, said. “I used to be really shy so now it’s given me confidence…and [it gets me] out of my comfort zone.”

The cadet program helps to prepare individuals for the police application, oral interview and tests.

Parada has plans to continue his education at Cal State Los Angeles and then apply to be a police officer at an agency in the South Bay.

“I want to be a police officer because I like helping people and interacting with people,” he said.

Parada would some day like to be a part of a community relations team, which is a team of police officers who talk to and engage with the community, host special programs for the community, and go to schools and do presentations.

“It’s a good feeling when you know you’ve helped someone…and I also want to help fight crime and arrest people,” Parada said. “It makes me feel good when I know I did something good for someone. I know in this field, I’ll be able to do that everyday for the most part.”

Trevis said that the Police Cadet Program at EC had a lot of very good success.

“Ninety to 95 percent of our cadets have gone on to work in the criminal justice system,” Trevis said.

While cadets are on campus as extra eyes and watchdogs, they don’t carry weapons and they don’t exactly “patrol” the campus.

Cadets are trained in CPR and first aid, they have access to all of the campus keys for all facilities, and they assist the police officers and the public, and help serve and protect everyone at EC.

As cadets, their main jobs are parking enforcement, unlocking buildings and rooms for faculty, and they also provide the campus courtesy shuttle.

Trevis said that the courtesy shuttle rides are what the ECPD receives the most calls for.

As of Wednesday, Oct. 24, for 2018, cadets have handled 4,449 shuttle requests.

When the shuttle service began years ago, before chief Trevis was a part of ECPD, it primarily ran at night for individuals who did not feel safe going to their cars or because of a medical condition for those unable to walk from point A to point B.

Now, Trevis said that people are using the shuttle for more of a “taxi service” on campus, but again, he says they won’t deny anyone a shuttle if they are available.

Trevis said second most common calls to the ECPD are for medical aid.

“Sometimes it’s just taking the students to the health center, other times it’s calling the paramedics to be on the safe side,” Trevis said.

Because EC is a learning institution, it’s where ideas are born and expressed.

“Our mission is to protect those rights and ideas so that everyone is safe,” Trevis said. “We are not gang-busters. We are very sensitive, we are very understanding and we are here to support student success.”

Trevis loves his job and takes his police oath very seriously.

He wants to make sure everyone feels safe and protected on campus.

“The best part of my job is interacting with students…to be able to walk away at the end of the day and have a smile on my face and be able to say, ‘You know what? I think I might have made a difference’,” Trevis said.