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UST Squad Car Makes First Appearance

Students returning to campus this fall will be greeted with the first hints of the forthcoming University of St. Thomas Police Department; a police-packaged Dodge Charger.

The black and white police-issued vehicle is emblazoned with the University name on its side and includes an onboard computer, a backseat cage separating the officers sitting up front from potential perpetrators and video cameras used for routine stops.

Police Chief James Tate is pleased with the vehicle so far.

“I wanted something that would represent the University of St. Thomas and the police department in a credible way,” Tate said.

Pictured L to R: Diego Luna and Police Chief James TateWhile selecting the vehicle, Tate and the University Police Department looked at the Chevy Tahoe, Ford Interceptor and the Dodge Charger eventually, choosing the Charger as it was the most economical option.

The squad car was purchased as part of the University initiative to transition the Office of Campus Security into a police department over the next three years.

After a recently conducted review of security reports, neighborhood crime statistics and researched safety and security departments at other private schools in Texas, Patricia McKinley, vice president for student affairs, said the University concluded that while there has not been any serious crime on campus, a visible police force would help deter it in the future.

There are plans to purchase a second squad car in the future so that there will always be a police vehicle present on campus.

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