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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Increase of deputies near campus results in numerous tickets

The first bell has just rung and traffic was already congesting at the intersection of Reid Lane and South Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road on a school day last November.

Juniors Kevin Duong-Le and his twin sister Amanda Duong-Le walked cautiously outside of their parents’ car, stepping onto the concrete slab that divides the flow of traffic on Saratoga-Sunnyvale. Peering right, they waited until the crosswalk parallel to the road signaled and jaywalked across the street.

Meeting them behind the line of Redwood trees near the portable classroom in the back parking lot was a sheriff’s deputy, who in turn handed tickets with a fine of around $100.

“I didn’t think it was fair because I walked parallel with the people crossing the road, so it was perfectly safe,” Kevin said.

Over these past few months, students like the Duong-Les have been the object of increased enforcement by deputies near campus before and after school, giving citations for offenses such as jaywalking, not wearing a helmet while biking and speeding.

According to Chad Garton, the school’s new resource officer, the increase of traffic patrol is the result of complaints from students, staff, parents and the community in general.

The more you speed around campus, the more cops there will be,” said Garton. “If everyone slows down and drives responsibly, we will focus our efforts somewhere else.”

The signs of the increase in deputies have been reflected in the dozens of traffic citations.

Senior Samir Ingle received one of these traffic tickets for speeding on Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road in February.

Returning to school after grabbing some lunch off campus, Ingle was already running late to class. He began to speed, driving 57 mph in a 45 mph designated area. Stopped by a police officer, Ingle received a ticket, a fine of $100 and a requirement to attend traffic school.

Although he had to pay a hefty price, Ingle is ultimately grateful that there are deputies keeping high schoolers like himself safe.

“I probably wouldn't have realized that I should be slowing down, as it becomes a slippery slope when you begin to break the speed limit by pushing the speed limit a little more each time and seeing that you don't get caught,” said Ingle.

Students like junior Janani Velchamy question the necessity of increased patrols, especially after an experience she had recently.

It was a Tuesday morning and Velchamy decided to take a different route to school. She soon got lost while navigating through the notoriously confusing Golden Triangle neighborhood near the school.

Keeping her engine on, she stopped at the side of Scotland Drive to search for directions on her phone. While looking at the map, Velchamy was surprised to see a deputy approaching her car.

“A police officer jumped out of a bush and told me that my car had to be turned off to use my phone, so I received a ticket,” Velchamy said.

The deputy wrote Velchamy a ticket for using her phone. At first Velchamy was confused why she received a citation, since she was not driving and using her phone at the same time.

The deputy claimed that it is only legal for a driver to use his or her phone, when the car is shut off.

Velchamy said her citation is unfair since her car was parked on the side of the road.  

Despite the downsides of receiving tickets, Ingle thinks students are ultimately safer with more deputies around.

“The system of constant cops isn't perfect, but the alternate would be far worse,” Ingle said.

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