University Police Officer Yolanda Myles cruises her usual route through campus Friday night, checking the more remote areas for unreported trouble.
“Friday nights really aren’t as bad as you’d expect them to be,” the officer said. She said that even on the weekends she averages about five calls per night.
Most of the calls are reported by students, Myles said. She believes students are good at policing themselves this year, even in the absence of community facilitators, who walked through dorms and reported disciplinary infractions in previous years.
As the car passed Thurston Hall, she said most of her calls are for noise violations in the F Street area.
“This is where most of the action is,” Myles said. “The majority of campus is right here.”
In her fourth year at UPD, Myles said the people she works with and a good balance of peace and excitement keeps her with the force.
“I’ve tried everything, and I like policing the best,” she said. Before joining UPD, Myles graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in aeronautical computer science and a minor in business. She worked as a secretary in a doctor’s office, a clerk in a law firm and an assistant in a mayor’s office before deciding she needed a change of pace.
“I was bored to tears,” she said. “I didn’t like being cooped up inside all day.”
Myles’ first and only call during her one-hour patrol, blasts over the dispatch radio as she is driving on F Street, interrupting the R&B tunes she plays in contrast to the intensity of the job.
“Base to scout 32 – possible domestic violence in progress – International House on Virginia Avenue – third-party caller reporting man and woman in fight.”
“In progress?” Myles asked rhetorically as she slammed on the gas pedal, seeming to test the limits of her Chevrolet Blazer squad car. She turned quickly from F Street onto 21st Street, and then crossed over to Virginia Avenue. She drove by International House slowly, inspecting every shadow for the suspects from the call.
More information trickled in from headquarters: “Reported black, male suspect is 6 feet tall – approximately 30 years of age – no details on clothing – wearing a backpack. Female is Caucasian – also approximately 30 years of age.”
Myles replied, “Scout 32 to base – be advised F Street is swept – copy.”
She circled back around again, this time passing through 20th Street. She thought the suspects may have made their way down E Street by now. Though her search of GW’s southwestern quadrant was thorough, she never found the alleged domestic violence suspects.
For the most part, Myles’ evening route includes the main campus streets as well as some that border the campus periphery, such as Virginia and Pennsylvania avenues and K Street.
After driving by the more socially active areas in front of Thurston and Potomac House, Myles began to investigate less-populated areas on campus.
As she drove down 22nd, a taxi whizzed by and turned onto a one-way street. Myles replied with a honk, and the cab driver quickly seemed to realize his mistake.
“Some people just don’t pay attention,” she said, but she didn’t write a ticket because UPD officers have no jurisdiction over traffic violations on D.C. streets.