It’s sure nice to see the UC Davis Police Department actually trying to improve the health and safety of students. Not exactly known as a paradigm of integrity on campus in recent years (i.e. pepper spray), the department, under current Chief Matthew Carmichael, is taking substantial strides toward reclaiming the trust and respect of the UC Davis community.
The UCDPD is currently in the process of revamping its safety and security services, in addition to introducing new programs to make these services more convenient for students.
For instance, the UCDPD is overhauling its escort service, Safe Rides, to provide a more comprehensive, convenient mechanism for students to get home safely. As of Oct. 20, Safe Rides now operates 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., taking students from campus to anywhere in Davis during these hours that Unitrans is closed.
Additionally, Safe Rides now has a wheelchair-accessible van and a new app, called Tapride, which allows students to summon rides via their smartphones. The service also now offers 24/7 VIP wheelchair transportation around campus, in addition to one 12-passenger and one eight-passenger van, making campus security more inclusive to all students.
Safe Rides and Aggie Host Security Officers, the students who operate the vehicles, expect to give upward of 25,000 rides this year, up from the 7,000 students who utilized the service last year.
These services greatly contribute to reducing the instances in which students are placed in compromising positions, stranded without a ride home. Additionally, the department will frequently conduct building checks throughout the night, hoping to patrol the 24-hour study room in the library twice an hour.
Fewer people stranded in the middle of the night leads us to believe that there will be less violence and fewer frightened or anxious students. This allows for students to have more flexibility with their schedules and also for them to feel comfortable and safe on campus at all times. We continue to applaud Chief Carmichael for his efforts to mend the strained relationship between the police and the students by utilizing these student-run safety services, and we hope that these safety measures are just the beginning of what the department can do to increase campus safety and security.