Students returning to Dayton may have noticed a new police car patrolling the streets of the Ghetto.
Public Safety purchased a 2012 Chevrolet Caprice police cruiser to replace a worn-out 2007 Ford Crown Victoria. The department is also considering the purchase of an emissions-free electric motorcycle for patrol purposes.
Australian company GM Holden specially designed and built the Chevrolet-branded Caprice for police use. Randy Groesbeck, a police major and public safety director of administration and security, said the rear-wheel drive vehicle with a V8 engine similar to the Corvette.
“It’s purpose built to be a police car,” Groesbeck said, “so everything on there is built with the rough service and continuous use of police duty in mind.”
Jeffrey Witte, a police sergeant in the department, said the new vehicle is smaller than the Crown Victoria, but said the Caprice corners well and has a lot of pickup.
“It’s a very unique looking car,” Witte said. “The students notice it and comment on it when we’re driving down the street.”
The stripped vehicle costs around $25,000, plus around an additional $10,000 to install the police equipment. Bruce Burt, police chief and director of public safety, said the price of the vehicles has been constant, but the cost of the equipment continues to rise.
The department has five cruisers, and replaces one each year as necessary. Groesbeck said the department strips and sells the old cruisers for parts and gives the proceeds to St. Vincent de Paul.
The department is also considering purchasing at least one electric motorcycle for use as a patrol vehicle or for use in parking services. Over the summer, the department allowed qualified individuals to test drive an electric motorcycle for two weeks.
“We were really impressed with it,” Burt said. “Energy wise it’s extremely efficient, it’s almost zero cost.”
Burt said the motorcycle opened up conversation between students and officers, and said student reaction to the motorcycle was positive.
“We look at it not only as an efficient way to patrol campus,” Burt said, “but also a tool to maybe help us break some barriers here as far as communication.”
Burt said the motorcycle would cost a little over $13,000. Groesbeck added that the motorcycle uses no fossil fuels and has 12 moving parts. Groesbeck and Burt both test-drove the motorcycles, and both gentlemen agreed it was fun to ride.
“I rode it all over campus during the summer,” Groesbeck said. “I put some miles on it, I rode it all over the place.”
Burt said the department would decide on purchasing the motorcycles by the end of the semester.
“I’m certainly leaning towards buying them at this point,” Burt said.
Aside from vehicles, Public Safety acquired new surveillance and medical equipment. Caldwell Apartments and Cronin Athletic Center were outfitted with new security cameras, which now number over 900 on campus. Groesbeck said cameras are used as both a crime deterrent and investigative tool.
For the Rescue Squad, the department acquired a continuous positive airway pressure machine, or CPAP machine, for use in administering oxygen to patients, and 13 additional automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, for use in cardiac emergencies. The total number of AEDs in campus facilities is now 32, and the department said there are more planned installations for 2013. Rescue Squad is also replacing paper EMS reports with automatic patient care records.