Public Safety acquired two new cars over the summer. The new Ford Explorers replaced the old vehicles, both of which required maintenance with some regularity, according to Public Safety Supervisor Kaz Trypuc.
These are the first new vehicles Public Safety has purchased in at least the last 13 years, Trypuc said, who hasn’t seen the department have new cars as long as he’s worked here.
“Given the time and money that went into repairing the old vehicles, it just didn’t make a lot of sense,” Trypuc said. “It’s nice to have one that’s clean, that functions. It’s not breaking down on us. It looks more professional too, and that sets a tone for the department and the university.”
Some students have questioned the need to spend this money on new vehicles. “They’re beautiful. Like, I wish my car was that nice. I’m interested to see why the campus decided to spend money there,” senior international studies major Ellie Gamble said.
The vehicles did not come out of the Public Safety budget, but were purchased for them by the PLNU Transportation Services out of Campus Facilities. The campus representative from that department did not respond to a request for an interview, but according to the Ford website, A new 2019 Ford Explorer starts at $32,365. The Public safety vehicles include added features, like PA system and light bars.
According to Trypuc, some of the new features of the car have already come in handy for the officers driving them.
“Having [these upgrades] has already been helpful in some instances where we’ve just needed to light up a scene or to contact someone through the vehicle speaker system,” Trypuc said. “It’s helped us do our job a little bit better.”
Public Safety Officers patrol the campus in these cars to monitor campus activity, become aware of any suspicious individuals, help students in need and make their presence known on campus, according to Trypuc. The patrols can also serve as a deterrent in some cases, as the presence of officers can discourage students and those visiting from off campus from acting up.
Public Safety Director Mark Ryan has also recently implemented a more consistent uniform, ensuring all Public Safety officers are wearing the same color. Trypuc said that this, along with the new vehicles, helps to create a more professional appearance for Public Safety.
“All together the idea is to make sure we’re communicating to our campus who we are and what we’re about and that we’re professionals who keep the campus safe,” Trypuc said.