There’s a new vehicle in the Campus Safety Services’ fleet, and though you may never hear it coming, it will be easy to recognize.
This summer, the department purchased a electric police vehicle to be used for sidewalk patrol, replacing one of its existing gas-powered vehicles.
“We’re still in the evaluation phase, but so far it has worked well and been very reliable,” said Carl Bittenbender, executive director of Campus Safety Services. Bittenbender initially suggested the idea of adding an electric police vehicle to the fleet.
He said the new car will be cleaner, more efficient and save the university and the police department money.
Students will notice the electric car on Liacouras Walk and on other walkways throughout campus. Emblazoned with Campus Police colors and logos, the futuristic dome-shaped car rides smoothly and quietly.
“The one downside is that it has to be plugged in when an officer is done using it, and that takes it out of commission for a while,” Bittenbender said.
The environmental benefits, however, seem to outweigh this one negative point.
“So far, [the car] has [received] a very positive response from students and the community,” Bittenbender said.
While some students have yet to notice the new police vehicle, Students for Environmental Action is one student organization that has.
“It’s really cool and it’s a good way to support the environmental movement,” said Jessica Gruber, a junior environmental studies major and president of SEA. “It also shows that everyone, including the police department, can get involved.”
The university seems to have really gotten involved. In July, the university established the Office of Sustainability, which focuses on matters such as conservation, waste-minimization and energy alternatives.
Sandra McDade, director of the Office of Sustainability, works with student organizations, faculty and the administration to promote a more environmentally friendly Temple community.
McDade said one of the university’s main goals was to reduce and eventually eliminate its greenhouse gas emissions. The electric car is a step in the right direction in achieving that objective.
“We need to have long-range planning on how we address environmental issues,” McDade said. “The [police] fleet is included in those. [The electric car] sends a message that we are committed to reducing our environmental impact.”
Though the fleet is only a small part of the transportation aspect of the office’s sustainability goals, McDade said the university wants to save on greenhouse gases however it can.
Students have expressed high hopes about future environmental action at Temple.
“This is a really great step for Temple working toward sustainability initiatives,” said Anastasios Pantelopulos, a senior envrionmental studies major and SEA member. “Hopefully more steps will be taken toward making Temple a greener campus, and maybe this will motivate students to step up their own personal efforts.”
Bittenbender said his department plans to continue the trend toward positive environmental action. If all goes as planned, the department may consider purchasing another electric car.
“It’s green,” Bittenbender said. “Everybody is doing their part, and we’re trying to do ours.”
Kevin Brosky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.