ULPD explains police escorts

By on September 30, 2014

From dusk to dawn, the University of Louisville Police Department offers U of L students a police escort service.  This service allows students who feel unsafe walking to and from campus to be taken to their destination by a ULPD officer.

“You just call 852-6211 and then the dispatcher will dispatch an escort driver to come pick you up and take you there,” said Major David James, commander of operations at ULPD. “I think last year we did something like 7,000 escorts.”

According to James, two escort vehicles with security officers are posted on Belknap campus, near Cardinal Towne and in Floyd Street garage, with on-duty police officers stepping when there is high demand. Separate escorts are available on the HSC campus.

The police escorts have a four-block boundary around campus.  James said that off-campus affiliate properties are a popular place for police escorts.

James says that it is difficult to determine an average response time for the service.

“It is basically driven by demand.  So, if we have a lot of people on a particular night wanting to get escorts then it is not going to be as quick as you want it to be,” he said. “Sometimes it could be 20 minutes or 25 minutes before the car actually comes.  If it is a real light night for escorts, it could be three minutes.”

James said that he hopes the new north end campus shuttle, which runs around the affiliate properties at night, will lighten the demand for the police escort services.

“That should help take a little bit of the load off of the escort service.

However, James said that ridership on the new shuttle is currently very low, at only 50 students a day, due to a lack of awareness. In addition, James mentioned that the demand varies from season to season.

“It is always heavier in the wintertime and inclement weather,” he said. “Escorts during the summertime are very minimal.”

This school year has seen an increase in usage, which James connects to residents of the Grove who do not want to walk through the Fourth street underpass.

“I cannot say that it was because of any safety issues . . . so we will have to see exactly what is driving that. ”

James cautioned students to remember that police escorts are not meant to be free rides around campus.

“If it’s someplace close, the officer could just walk with you.  It is an escort not a ride, you should always understand that.”



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