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LAUSD Testimony - Travis Fenderson

LAUSD Testimony - Travis Fenderson

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Prepared testimony of LAUSD School Police Officer Travis Fenderson in the CPUC evidentiary hearing regarding the crossing next to Foshay Learning Center at Harvard Avenue.
Prepared testimony of LAUSD School Police Officer Travis Fenderson in the CPUC evidentiary hearing regarding the crossing next to Foshay Learning Center at Harvard Avenue.

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06/14/2009

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 1Application 06-12-005
et al.
ExhibitDate: August , 2008
PREPARED TESTIMONYOFTRAVIS FENDERSONQ: Please state your name, position, employer, and business address.
A: My name is Travis Fenderson. I am Police Officer with the Los Angeles School PoliceDepartment. My business address is 1330 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, California, 90015.
Q: Where are you stationed within the Los Angeles Unified School District?
A: I am assigned to Foshay Learning Center.
Q: How long have you been with the School Police Department?
A: I have been an officer for about one and a half years.
Q: What did you do before becoming an officer?
A: I was a teacher with the Los Angeles Unified School District. I taught health to highschool students at Washington Preparatory School and Locke High School. I served as a healthteacher for three years. Prior to that, I worked in a Level 14 Psychiatric Facility, where I taughtvarious academic subjects to patients suffering from numerous psychological conditions. Severalpatients were violent, many were self-mutilators, and all were taking medication under aphysician’s care.
Q: What kind of training did you receive to become an officer?
 
 2A: I spent eighteen weeks at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Academy to earn my badge,completing the same training that any County deputy sheriff is required to complete. While inthe Sheriff’s Academy, I received basic training within various law enforcement relateddisciplines, including defensive tactics, basic knowledge of the penal codes, firearms training foruse in a variety of conditions, and first responder training.
Q: What are the powers of a School Police Officer?
A: A School Police Officer is granted peace officer powers by the State of California. Theseinclude the power to issue warrants, to arrest adults, to make traffic stops, and to respond to anycriminal or suspected criminal activity, regardless of its location, on or off of school property.
Q: What are your daily duties at Foshay?
A: I am the only officer regularly assigned to Foshay. I spend from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. atthe campus or patrolling nearby. I generally do not patrol west of Western, but I patrol thestreets as far east as Vermont Avenue, as far north as 36
th
Street, and as far south as MartinLuther King Jr. Boulevard. I assist the staff and faculty in controlling automobile and pedestriantraffic at arrival and dismissal. I intervene in student fights and assist with students who may beintoxicated or on drugs. Generally speaking, I am involved with all aspects of student safety. Iam engaged in Community Based Policing, which means that I am constantly trying to preventincidents or crimes before they occur.
Q: What are your primary student safety concerns at Foshay?
 A: There is a lot of gang activity in the neighborhood around Foshay. Students come fromManual Arts High School to loiter near our campus. Our students are frequently the targets of robberies for their cell phones or iPods. There are drug dealers in the area. I am also concernedabout students fighting with each other or with gang members.
 
 3
Q: Have there been any physical changes in the neighborhood around Foshay in recentmonths?
 A: Yes. Construction has begun on the Expo line. The K rails have been installed to fencein the tracks and I can no longer walk across, or even see across, Exposition Boulevard atHarvard Avenue.
Q: How has this affected your ability to ensure student safety?
 A: This has seriously impacted my ability to monitor student activity and keep our studentsfrom fighting or being robbed. Before the K rails were installed, if an incident occurred on thefar side of Exposition, I would step into the street, stop traffic, and immediately cross to the otherside. Today, students are aware that I cannot cross Exposition easily, and choose to have fightsand engage in other dangerous behavior on the far side of Exposition, far more often today thanbefore the construction began. With the K rails, it is difficult for me to even see the activity.Even when I can see what is taking place, it is very difficult for me to arrive in time to stop it. Imust use the Harvard tunnel (when it is open), and this requires me to go underground, where Ilose visual contact with the situation. This gives the suspects ample time to flee before I canarrive on the scene. I also must share the tunnel with the 300 to 400 students using it atdismissal, which results in a situation where I must fight crowds of students in order to quicklyget to the other side. In addition, vendors that are forbidden from selling their goods on or nearcampus have begun to gather near the tunnel. They do this because I am not able to ask them toleave from across Exposition. If I need to run out of the tunnel quickly, I find that the vendorsare blocking the way. Furthermore, I do not have radio communication when I am in the tunnel,so I am unaware of developments on the surface during the time that I am underground. The

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