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Gallaudet’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) has replaced its fleet of vehicles and its staff uniforms, steps that the department feels will enhance the efficiency of its mission to protect the campus community.

DPS Director Theodore Baran said it was time for the department to replace its vehicles, which were last purchased in 2006 and 2007, due to their high mileage and the need for extensive and ongoing repairs. Thanks to the University’s Department of Transportation, which facilitated the purchase, DPS has obtained four new cars. The vehicles, called “Blue and Whites,” are easily distinguished as official Gallaudet DPS cars by their blue front and rear and white doors and roof. DPS wanted its vehicles to look completely different from those of the Metropolitan Police Department, said Baran. “This will increase quick recognition of our campus vehicles, which in an emergency could be valuable time saved,” he explained. The vehicles also display DPS’ new email address and direct phone, 202-651-5555.

Additionally, the vehicles have reflectors on the rear and front bumpers to ensure high visibility and safety, as well as reflective markings for easy identification during low-light periods and to promote officer safety. They are also equipped with LED emergency light bars that are extremely bright and noticeable when activated. “”One feature I am most proud of is our new Rumbler siren system. It is a revolutionary new concept in audible warning systems,”” said Baran. The system interacts with the siren and utilizes a speaker system and amplifier using a low-frequency sound that is directed to the ground, causing a vibration that can be felt for hundreds of feet. “When used appropriately, this tool will act as an additional warning system to ensure that the community is aware that an emergency vehicle is approaching and will increase overall pedestrian safety on campus,” said Baran.

One of the new vehicles that DPS is particularly proud of is an innovative and eye-catching Global Electric Motorcars (GEM) vehicle. The vehicle is fully electric, requiring no fossil fuels, and is one-half the cost of a standard police vehicle, said Baran. The GEM vehicle’s battery is charged each day, allowing it to operate for 24 hours.

The remaining new vehicles consist of two Police Interceptor Vehicles built on a Ford Taurus chassis and one Interceptor on a Ford Explorer Chassis. All the vehicles are all-wheel drive, which will ensure that DPS officers can respond to emergencies promptly anywhere on campus during inclement weather. Ford Police Interceptors are built specifically for the rigors of police work and hold up to multiple drivers, quick starts and sudden stops, and are designed to tolerate idling in place without taking a toll on the vehicles’ engine, coolant system, and transmission. The vehicle is an ideal police car that is expected to have a longer life, thus reducing repair and replacement costs and, ultimately, saving the University thousands of dollars.

Another makeover that has taken place at DPS is a change in officers’ uniforms. Because many members of the community expressed confusion about how to identify a supervisor on duty, DPS wanted to find a simple way of distinguishing officers from supervisors. Now, all frontline DPS officers wear blue shirts, rather than the previous white shirts. DPS supervisors, however, will continue to wear white shirts. All DPS shirts display the new Gallaudet University Department of Public Safety patch, and all have American flag patches embroidered on the right shoulder to honor the many veterans who work in the department and are members of the Gallaudet University community, said Baran.

The unveiling of the new patch spells another major change for DPS. The design of the new patch is far different from the old round patches. The new patch is a 2 x 5-inch shape that displays the Gallaudet University logo on top, the department name just below, and “Campus Police” on the bottom. “I am excited about the new patch, as we feel it is colorful, unique, and easily identifiable to all those on campus, while proudly displaying the attractive new logo,” said Baran. “We are so proud of the new patch that it will also be displayed on the new vehicles.”

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