URBANA, Ill. – The University of Illinois Police Department has added a new vehicle to its fleet that will make it easier for officers to get around and stay visible during special events like football games and parades.
The new Polaris Ranger utility task vehicle (UTV) is smaller and more nimble than a typical police squad car and will be able to go places that a full size sport utility vehicle cannot. The department has plans to use the vehicle at events with large crowds and on routine patrols in areas of campus not typically accessible to a vehicle.
The UTV made its campus debut during the Fourth of July parade in Champaign-Urbana.
“This is another tool we can use to keep the campus safe,” said Executive Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police Craig Stone. “We are always looking for ways to improve our ability to safeguard our community, and this new vehicle was an efficient way to enhance our patrol capabilities.”
Another advantage of the UTV includes making officers more accessible to bystanders. Since the vehicle is smaller than a patrol vehicle and can travel in pedestrian areas, it is easier to approach and ask a question or alert a police officer to trouble.
“We want our community members to feel comfortable approaching officers to engage them in conversation or report suspicious activity, and this vehicle makes it easier to do that,” Stone said.