Photo Caption: Athens Police Chief Tom Pyle, left, with Ohio University Police Chief Andrew Powers, explains how the new cruiser design reflects the collaboration between the two departments during a press conference Tuesday.
City and university officials announced the winners of a design contest for a joint patrol vehicle during a press conference at the City Building Tuesday.
Ohio University Printing Services graphic designer Scott Oancea teamed up with OU graphic design student Stanislav Semukhin on the winning entry this spring.
The Athens City-University Joint Police Services Advisory Council, or JPAC, was recently formed to foster better connections between the city and university police departments. One of its first orders of business was to run a contest for citizens to design the squad car. The car will be manned by one officer each from the Athens Police Department and the OU Police Department.
Athens Police Department Chief Tom Pyle said Tuesday that members of the JPAC committee choosing the winning design all gravitated toward the one from Oancea and Semukhin. There were four total entries.
Pyle said that the departments have been running joint patrols for three years, but the idea of a joint cruiser just came up in the past several months.
OU Police Chief Andrew Powers said Tuesday that his department was able to donate a 2007 Grand Victoria to be used for the joint cruiser.
"(Chief Powers) suggested we could have it marked up to represent the collaboration between the two departments," Pyle said. "JPAC suggested we have a competition in the community… and give community and university members the opportunity to combine on a team and come up with a design for this joint cruiser."
OU President Roderick McDavis said this is another example of how to make the community stronger and safer by joining together. He said this may be the first joint police cruiser in the country, and the university is currently researching whether that's true.
"Creating a design to distinguish this patrol is an important milestone in this effort," he said. "The safer the campus is and the city is, the safer our students are and the citizens of the community are. The cruiser is a huge step forward for our city and police department."
Athens Mayor Paul Wiehl praised the work of JPAC and noted that the cruiser projects a positive image of cooperation between the departments and the city and university in general.
"This will give us an image out there that we are working together; there's communication; you can actually jump from one to the other as a police force and get the service that you want," he said.
Co-designer Scott Oancea said the goal was to create something stylized and a little more contemporary while maintaining the traditional image of a police vehicle.
"The colors partially symbolize both departments," he said.
The design also includes each department's official emblem on either side of the lettering.
Chief Powers said the plan is to apply the new design to the cruiser over the summer and roll it out for patrol in the fall. Pyle and Powers have discussed taking the cruiser out for its inaugural patrol shift together, he said. The plan is also to make the cruiser the lead car in the OU 2012 Homecoming parade. The designers will ride along at that time as well, he said.
"I've been in a lot of university cities and a lot of cities, and I have not seen a patrol car like this," McDavis said. "We may be breaking new ground… I think it's very unique and very special."
JPAC meetings are held the first Thursday of every month at 6:30 p.m., and those meetings are open to the public. The location of the meeting rotates between the Athens Community Center and OU Baker Center.
JPAC is charged with handling a variety of issues including monitoring crime trends in the city and on campus; emphasizing crime prevention and personal safety; assisting the police chiefs in identifying and prioritizing community concerns; providing feedback and suggestions for community-based policing strategies; recommending programs that improve relations between OU and the broader Athens community; and identifying methods of communicating concerns to the wider community.