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Chief's Blog - What's UP (University Park)?!

May 20

New 2020 Ford Hybrid Police Interceptor SUV

Posted on May 20, 2020 at 12:02 PM by Harvey Baker

The University Park Police Department is pleased to announce that it has received its first hybrid marked police cruiser, and it expects to take delivery of two more in the new fiscal year.  The Department is working to protect and conserve the environment by transitioning its entire vehicle fleet into green vehicles.  The new 2020 Ford Hybrid Police Interceptor SUV is expected to save at least 1,276 gallons of fuel per year, which equates to more than $3,500 per year in fuel savings.  In addition to significant fuel cost savings, the hybrid vehicles will help the University Park Police and the Town of University Park reduce their carbon footprint.  Each Ford Hybrid Police Interceptor SUV is projected to result in 22,000 fewer pounds of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere each year. 


The new Ford Hybrid Police Interceptor is the first ever pursuit-rated hybrid SUV, which means it has been equipped for the rigors of sustained high-speed driving and hard braking often associated with traffic enforcement and police emergency response.  With the power and safety features of a traditional all-gas police vehicle with a fraction of the emissions, the 2020 Ford Hybrid Police Interceptor SUV is viewed as the future of law enforcement vehicle fleets.  In addition to better overall fuel economy, the new hybrid cruiser also reduces engine idle time by charging on-board electronic devices by using the car’s hybrid battery, allowing the gasoline engine to shut off for extended periods of time.  The Michigan State Police recently completed a test trial and determined the Ford Hybrid Police Interceptor SUV performed better than traditional all-gas V-8 police SUVs offered by Chevrolet and Dodge.  We are excited about the opportunity to protect and conserve the environment while contributing to the Town of University Park sustainability initiative.  While you are out and about walking the neighborhood, keep a lookout for our new 2020 Ford Hybrid Police Interceptor SUV #34.

May 17

Should kids play with toy guns in public?

Posted on May 17, 2020 at 4:01 PM by Harvey Baker

For many years now toy guns have been a must have item on Christmas and birthday wish lists.  In a 2019 study conducted by Reviews.org the Nerf Gun was listed as the most popular toy in the United States (Wooddell, 2019). Toy guns are so popular they are often glamorized in video games, movies and in some instance’s children cartoons.  It seems toy manufacturers are taking it to another level making toy guns look more real than a toy.  This is disheartening when you consider all the gun violence our nation has endured over the past 10 years.  Toy guns in public are a concern for onlookers and public safety agencies.  University Park Police urge parents to use extreme caution when purchasing realistic looking toy guns for their children.  We also asked that you do not allow your child to play with a toy gun out in public (i.e., parks, public streets).  We recommend that toy guns be played with at home under the supervision of an adult.  Too often when children play with a toy gun in public the police are called in to handle the matter.  The incident could be completely innocent with children having a good time however, depending on how realistic looking the toy gun appears the situation could easily be escalated into a serious situation.  According to the Washington Post from 2015 to 2016, police officers shot 86 people when they mistook a toy gun for the real thing (Sullivan et al, 2016). To avoid this confusion some jurisdictions have banned carrying toy guns in public all together and others have established laws that set restrictions on the appearance and sale of toy guns.  Currently Maryland does not have a law that prohibits owning toy guns.  A more practical approach to reducing uncertainty may be to take safety precautions and purchase a brightly color toy with a contrasting color muzzle versus a realistic toy gun that could easily be confused by other residents.   The gift of a toy gun is the right of every parent; however, the true value and appropriateness of the gift is its appearance and where the child is permitted to play with it.   The University Park Police join their law enforcement partners and safety experts from across the United States imploring parents to use care when purchasing toy guns for children. 



Apr 21

"Protect and Conserve"

Posted on April 21, 2020 at 11:38 AM by Harvey Baker

The cornerstone of most public safety agencies missions throughout the United States is to “protect and serve.” The University Park Police takes this mission very seriously as it is critical to everything we do in protecting University Park residents and keeping the town safe.  This past year, we incorporated a “protect and conserve” approach to protect the environment and conserve resources by eliminating or streamlining processes.  We reviewed various aspect of the department processes, equipment and services and have identified ways to improve our systems and structures, which reduces costs and benefit everyone. Moreover, we work even harder to protect the environment and to conserve whenever possible.  For example, we successfully completed our annual firearms qualification using environmentally friendly ammunition.  We also developed a vehicle anti-idling policy to lessen the amount of pollutants emitted into the air that negatively impact the environment and potentially detrimental to the Town’s air quality.  Within the next 30 days we will roll out the newest addition to our vehicle fleet, which include a 2020 Ford Police Interceptor Utility Hybrid SUV.  The vehicle will save 1276 gallons in fuel costs per year and reduce Co2 emissions.  In addition, the new vehicle includes a hybrid powertrain that will keep the various onboard and auxiliary electronic equipment charged without having to leave the vehicle running while at the scene of an incident. 

Another way we have saved costs and conserved energy, the University Park Police parking tickets was changed from a 4-section form with an envelope to a new and improved form, which resulted in a significant cost savings compared to the previous year.  We also installed two solar powered radar display speeds signs to assist in slowing traffic on town roads.  These radar display signs include programmable messaging, which provide immediate feedback to the approaching driver. These speed radar display signs have shown to slow drivers’ speed on an average of 10% below the posted speed limit.  In addition, these signs eliminate the need for annual licensing fees and administrative costs.  The driver speed data is easily accessible and can be compiled into several reports. The new signs are a significant improvement over the town’s older electronic speed signs, which has an annual licensing fee of more than $1,000.00.  

These cost savings measures that we have implemented are just a bite out of the apple. With limited resources and the demand for increased services, we will continue to look for opportunities to save costs without sacrificing police service delivery and quality. Please feel free to join us by making us aware of other ways to “protect and conserve” our environment.