By Sella Robinett
Amarillo College Police Department officers are riding in style in their new battery-powered patrol cars.
In December, the department bought two of the cars, one for the Washington Street Campus and one for the West Campus. Officer Scott Acker, crime prevention officer, said it would not be as efficient to have one on the East Campus because of the layout.
Efficiency is one of the reasons the department decided to buy the new patrol cars, Acker said. The cars not only save on fuel costs but allow for easier deployment to an emergency and speed up response time.
The battery-powered patrol cars have all the same features that a regular patrol car has, including lights and sirens. The cars easily can fit two officers. They are fully equipped to answer any call, including medical, jump-starts and lockouts, Acker said.
Giselle Leon, an education major, said she hasn’t seen the new cars yet. She said she never has needed the ACPD but that she is glad to know they are there if she does.
“We can go where the regular patrol car can’t go,” Acker said. The smaller cars are less conspicuous, can patrol undetected and are easier to maneuver. According to Acker, the cars are better than patrolling on foot or bicycle because it allows officers to save their energy. They can cover more area, and if they need to respond to a call, they can do so quickly.
Jesse Starr, circulation supervisor at Lynn Library, said, “I think they will be nice for patrols in the cold.”
Starr said he has seen the new cars and thinks they are functional. He said he never has needed the ACPD personally but has appreciated officers’ response to the library on occasion.
Acker said the ACPD has a few more new things on the agenda for the coming year. Patrol cars will get a makeover, and a new patch for officers’ uniforms is being designed.
Acker said students also should be on the lookout for new awareness videos. He plans to create videos addressing campus safety services such as lock-outs, escorts and jump-starts along with others dealing with sexual assault and work place harassment.
“I can reach students, faculty and employees better and faster by utilizing Blackboard and our (ACPD) website,” Acker said. The videos will be used in place of in-person training, he said.