Tennessee Tech Campus Police got an upgrade over the summer by adding some new patrol cars to their fleet in order to keep campus safe. The two new patrol cars are driven by Lieutenants Sandy Thompson and Michael Lambert, who alternate between working the day and night shifts on campus. The patrol cars offer new and better features that the older Ford Crown Victorian patrol cars do not, making the cars more accessible for the officers.
“The interior for our new patrol cars is custom made to fit the officer’s gun belts and to make it easier to get in and out as quickly as possible,” said Elizabeth Clemens, secretary to the campus police chief, Tony Nelson. “They also redesigned the back seat to make it recessed back so they have more leg room to move around.”
The new patrol cars also have brush guards installed to help protect the cars in case of some accidents on campus.
“The reasoning for the brush guards is because last semester when an officer pulled over a suspect, they thought it was be funny to back up into our patrol car and drive off,” Clemens said.
Clemens said they caught the driver after they drove off.
Another feature on the patrol cars is the engine. All of the older patrol cars have a V8 engine whereas the newer cars only have a V6. Clemens said the reasoning behind the change was because Tech isn’t involved in a lot of high-pursuit chases, so there isn’t a huge need for a bigger engine.
“A good thing about having a smaller engine is that it will help increase our fuel mileage,” Clemens said, “which will help keep the new cars in better shape longer.”
With all the new features, campus police hope to stay up-to-date with current events on campus. The new cars will be easier to maintain and should have a longer life here on campus.
Some students, however, do not see a need for new patrol cars on campus.
“I don’t understand why we need newer cars; the cars they had seemed fine,” said Kayla Tucker, a sophomore majoring in nursing. “Tech Police doesn’t have to drive or do much with the cars, so wouldn’t the older cars do just fine?”
Previous to getting the new patrol cars, the university would purchase refurbished patrols in order to keep cost down, but there is a downside to buying older, refurbished cars.
“When buying the refurbished cars, we would then take on all the baggage and years of work that came with those cars,” Clemens said. “By getting brand new cars this year, we will be able to keep them here on campus for much, much longer.”
Another way Tech Police is keeping their cars in better condition is that the cars stay on campus at office. Campus officers do not take them home like other municipal law enforcement officers do.
With upgrading the patrol car, Tech Police also redesigned the logos printed on their patrol cars. The logo was designed by the president and executive vice president of Students Affairs and the Tech Police Chief to make it more visible as a police vehicle.
“They also decided to redo the logo because of upcoming centennial this year,” Clemens said. “Another reason was to use Tech’s color so students could recognize it as a campus patrol car.”
While some students may not see a need for the newer patrol cars, others have noticed a change in the new cars.
“I have seen the new cars drive around campus and they look really nice,” said Heather Fletcher, a freshman Tech student. “They remind of an actual police car which is good because I know a lot of students don’t think Tech Police is a real police office.”