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Cuesta votes to keep on-campus cops 

The Cuesta Board of Trustees recently voted unanimously to continue their on-campus police department.

The recent decision ends months of speculation, sparked by discussion at a previous meeting, that the Central Coast community college might disband the on-campus police force in favor of contracting an outside law enforcement agency such as the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department, which is located about a mile away from the Cuesta campus.

In addition to the recent vote, the board appointed Barton Topham as the interim chief of police and director of public safety.

Topham, who has 30 years of experience in law enforcement and worked 18 years as a captain in the San Luis Obispo Police Department, will succeed 17-year-veteran Pete Sysak, who retired last month.

Topham was "enjoying a semi-retired life" as a part-time law enforcement academy instructor at Allan Hancock College before his recent return to the police game.

"There's something that gets into your blood," he said. "I'm enjoying being back, but there's even more to do than I expected."

Topham added that an on-campus police department is vital for both student and faculty safety.

"It's not just important--it's essential," Topham said. "We have professionals here ready to respond to serious and violent incidents that are unfortunately becoming more common in our society."

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