Dodge Chargers more viable option for DPS

Courtesy Photo / Department of Public Safety
GVSU Police Departments squad cars

Courtesy Photo / Department of Public Safety GVSU Police Department’s squad cars

Emanuel Johnson

As Grand Valley State University’s Department of Public Safety officers cruise around campus in Dodge Chargers, the Student Senate questioned the need for these updated police vehicles. Captain Brandon DeHaan attended the Student Senate meeting last Thursday to address these concerns and reassure the senate the Chargers are the best option for DPS.

“We have looked at a variety of different types of models that could potentially be used for our service, including hybrids,” he said. “What we found is because of the communication equipment that we are required to have in our cars – there’s computers, modems and a variety of other portable radios and such – there’s just not enough room in those particular style of vehicles.”

DPS purchased new Dodge Charger vehicles instead of the standard Crown Victoria vehicles.

DeHaan noted that while the Chargers may look flashy on the outside, they are actually a much more viable option than Crown Victorias in price, room and efficiency.

“We made purchase on some Dodge Chargers, and the reason why we did that is because they are $500 to $1,000 cheaper, and they actually get 25 to 30 percent better fuel mileage than the standard Crown Victoria,” he said.

DeHaan also said the flashiness of each car denotes a strong police presence and reflects the architectural and landscaping beauty of the campus itself.

“The university wants to display that same look for the vehicles that we are utilizing, as well,” he said. “On the sides of all our cars, we’ve got billboards that indicate police because we’re looking for a very strong police presence for not only students who can easily recognize that there’s a police officer that they can go to if they have any need, but also for other folks from inside and outside our community.”

Other topics discussed at the Student Senate meeting included the number of MIPs on campus as opposed to other universities, the police escort service, the biggest crimes on campus, emergency call boxes, medical amnesty, card key access to all living halls and lack of parking.

Prior to the meeting, Student Senate President Jarrett Martus put together a list of questions from a previous meeting and met with DeHaan and other DPS officials. Martus asked DeHaan to come to a senate meeting to address each question, as well as others.

Martus said he thought the discussion went very well and demonstrated how the openness of administration can benefit students.

“(DeHaan) was able to answer a lot of questions and offered a lot of feedback on a very broad range of topics,” he said. “As with any part of the administration, the more open-door it is, the better. He welcomes students to talk to him one-on-one or in a small group if they have specific questions or concerns, and the more we open those doors, the more we can get done.”

DeHaan said a relationship between DPS and the Student Senate is key in helping students understand in what ways the police can serve them.

“We had a very open discussion, and I was very pleased with that,” he said. “I think it’s very important that the Student Senate has an understanding of what we here at the police department do, not only for the students here on our campus, but everyone that’s a part of our community.”

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