Over the last year, students with bright orange shirts patrolling University of Miami’s campus on segways have become apparent.
However, riding around campus is only one aspect of the job responsibilities of a Student Patrol.
A division of the University of Miami Police Department, these patrol aides are student employees who are paid to perform low-risk duties which do not require a police officer.
Some of their job responsibilities include staffing fixed posts, patrolling the Coral Gables campus, acting as a security escort for other students, and reporting suspicious persons and vehicles to UMPD.
“The Student Patrol Aides are the additional eyes and ears to assist the police officers with the safety and security of campus,” said Barbara Reed, the security manager of UMPD. “The students take pride in protecting what they consider as their own home.”
The Student Patrol Program was launched by UMPD in August 2008. Currently, there are 18 Student Patrol employees.
Josh Lopez, a senior at UM who spent many years in the military, has been involved with the Student Patrol Program since its start. He now serves as the supervisor of the program.
“My vision is to make this a program that’s still going to be here when we’re gone,” Lopez said. “We’re developing the building blocks that will continue to grow until UM is one of the safest campuses in the country.”
In addition to being the Student Patrol Supervisor, Lopez said that he oversees 90 percent of the hiring process of all of the Student Patrol Aides and also developed all of the training that each patrol has to go through before going out into the field.
The Student Patrol Aides are thoroughly trained so that they are prepared for all types of situations that could occur during their active patrol duties on campus. This past summer, all of the new hires went through two days of extensive training. This training included instructions in communications, using the Automatic External Defibrillator, and performing CPR. They also learned how to use the segways and gym cars.
Afterwards, all of the new employees took four tests to make sure they had a full knowledge of everything covered during training.
The Student Patrol Employees are meant to stand out on campus and that means wearing a reflective orange shirt and riding around on segways.
“Everyone has been positive about using [the segways],” Lopez said. “They’re a little high up so you can see things while riding around that you might not normally be able to see.”
Another advantage of the segways is that they are environmentally friendly. Segways have an electric motor and are battery powered. They can reach speeds of up to ten miles per hour.
While UMPD is not currently looking to hire any more students, those interested will have a chance to apply for the position at the end of the spring semester. The application process for the Student Patrol, available on the UMPD website, miami.edu/police, is extensive.
Once a student is hired to be part of the Student Patrol Program, they usually work 16-20 hours every week, in four-hour shifts to accommodate their academic schedules.
The starting pay for the position is $10 per hour. Students applying for the open positions at the end of the school year have to maintain a 2.5 or higher GPA, be of high moral character, successfully pass a background check and pass a departmental interview.
According to Lopez, manning the Stanford Drive entrance gate is one of the most important responsibilities of the Student Patrol Aides, because they are able to provide valuable information to visitors about the Coral Gables campus and the area surrounding the university.
“Students give the best directions,” he said. “It is a valuable resource to have students at the gate because they are knowledgeable to answer specific questions that visitors have that security wouldn’t be able to answer.”
UMPD plans to continue the Student Patrol Program and hopes to expand it by next fall.