As colder weather approaches, it seems more frequent for students to return to vehicles with dead car batteries or to accidentally lock their keys in their cars, said Officer Jimmie Watts Jr. of the OCCC Police Department.
Fortunately, the campus police department is more than willing to help.
Watts said there is always an officer or security staff member available to provide jump starts, assist in unlocking doors, or airing up tires. Campus police are not allowed to change tires or assist with any mechanical issues with vehicles due to liability reasons.
In order for students to retrieve keys from a locked car, they must provide the location of their keys inside the car, their driver’s license, and once the car is opened, they must show the police officer or security officer a copy of proof of insurance or registration to the vehicle with either their name or their parents’ name on it, Watts said.
For obvious reasons, campus police don’t want to aid inadvertently in a car theft.
Also, if a student were in need, the campus police department could call a tow truck and wait with the student until the tow truck arrives.
Watts recalled one instance in which a student had locked the keys in their car when it was pouring down rain.
“We put on our raincoats and got out there and got the car unlocked for them,” Watts said. In most cases, keys are left in the ignition or in the seat in plain sight.
Campus police department numbers show that unlocking doors and jump starting cars is needed on average of a dozen times a week. At times, there may be as many as three students during one shift that need their car door unlocked.
Watts and the dispatcher, David Madden, made it clear that as winter approaches, students tend to have more problems with their vehicles.
As long as the campus police department is able to help, they will, Watts said. Also, it is recommended that students have some proof of ownership within their vehicle at all times in case they lock their keys in their car.
Students can reach the campus police department at (405) 682-7872, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Their office is located in the main building just behind the coffee shop.