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U of R student behind push to make public safety cars more visible

Patrick Moussignac
Updated: January 30, 2020 07:37 PM
Created: January 30, 2020 05:42 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The University of Rochester has a new tool to help make the Department of Public Safety's vehicles more visible in and around campus. 

The idea was brought to their attention by a student as a way to help build and foster a greater relationship between the DPS, and the students they protect.

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We're all familiar with the lights on top of a police car, but DPS has added something to their lights to make them stand apart from all other police vehicles in the city.

To the untrained eye, the lights are just the lights on top of a police car. On the campus of University of Rochester these lights are called "Cruise Lights," and they're significantly important.

Jamal Holtz is currently the Student Body President among the other positions he holds at the school. He's also the student behind the initiative of having these lights installed on all campus police cars.

"The cruise lights are our opportunity for students to know that law enforcement, and public safety is there to help, and if there's an incident or issue where you need someone immediately, you know where a car is at all times to get that help,” Holtz said.

DPS says the lights stay on whether the car is moving, or parked with an officer inside. At night the lights are so bright they can also be seen from dozens of yards away.

Holtz first noticed these lights being used by police departments back home in Washington, D.C. 

"What I see is an opportunity to build accountability, and to build visibility for students on campus, but also people in the greater community," Holtz said.

Holtz says his initiative was supported by the DPS Student Advisory Board, and was well received. 

"When I met with the Chief about it, and other administrators it was a go. They were very excited about it," Holtz said.

DPS Chief Mark Fisher agrees. 

"We really appreciate them bringing ideas to us, and we really try to implement things that you know make our communities safer," Fisher said.

Holtz takes it a step further by saying, "The fact that a student can leave the library at 11 p.m., or 1 a.m. and walk home, and they know there's a presence where they can feel safe for me that's inevitable."

News10NBC asked Holtz, who is graduating this year, should the Cruiser Lights be named after him? It was his idea to get them here after all. 

He said, “Well I think the lights should be named after the community. I didn't do it for myself. I did it for the community."

DPS will have lights installed on all 14 of their cars by the end of next month. Each light costs less than $100 per vehicle to install.


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