University Police Department thinks 'green' with WSU vehicles
Jul 2, 2008 9:28 AM | Print
With gas prices rising and budgets relatively flat, the Wichita State University Police Department proactively addressed the dilemma by thinking "green" with its patrol vehicles.
New Patrol Cars
Since 2002, the University Police Department has used the 4WD Chevrolet Blazer as the primary police patrol vehicle on campus. This SUV provided superior traction in snow, and its height gave the driver a slight advantage while patrolling some areas on campus.
However, as a police patrol vehicle, the SUV experienced a disproportionate rate of disrepair, overall higher maintenance costs and lower gas mileage than other traditional police vehicles. These factors made the vehicle expensive to operate.
In 2006, the UPD began replacing its SUV fleet with Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptors. These police cars are engineered to operate more efficiently and safer at low and high speeds. When compared to the SUV, the new police cars gain up to six more miles per gallon.
The five new rear-wheel drive police cars are flexible fuel vehicles. This is one of several ways the UPD is trying to go green. Flexible fuel vehicles may use alternative fuels. Ethanol is less expensive per gallon. There is a nearby location to fuel with ethanol.
Other Green Police Vehicles
Late this spring, the UPD deployed a battery powered three-wheel platform vehicle for patrolling the campus. This vehicle, which looks like something from "Star Wars," operates for pennies per day. Police use the T3 Motion platform as a more efficient replacement for the bicycle or foot patrol for the interior of campus. It is also used for parking enforcement purposes.
The UPD also acquired and deployed a battery-powered utility cart this spring. It has replaced the use of an SUV or police car during certain outdoor special events and can be used by student cadets when providing safety escorts on campus. The electric cart is equipped with a rain and wind protection roof and side panels for use in all types of weather.
New Police Car Graphics
Beginning in June, two of the new police cars were deployed with a new UPD graphics package. The new graphics are designed to make the UPD cars more visible on campus.
WSU's police department is the only UPD in this region of the state, so in identifying the police agency as "University Police" with a new and unique car graphics package, the hope is to differentiate the UPD cars from Wichita Police Department cars. Soon, all UPD patrol cars will be marked the same way.
In the short time the new vehicles have been deployed, many campus community members and other visitors have made positive comments to WSU officers patrolling in the electric vehicles or driving the new police cars.
The UPD welcomes comments from faculty, staff and students concerning efforts to reduce vehicle emissions, while increasing police visibility with the new police cars and vehicle graphics. Contact University Police Chief Paul Dotson at 978-3450 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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