New Gators crawl over campus

Beth Wilberding

Alligators are among the most feared predators in the wild. They are known to attack everything from small birds to an occasional human.

But there is a new type of gator at Western for illegal parkers to fear.

Campus police received on Monday two John Deere Gators, which are small off-road trucks, from Hartland Equipment Corporation to help with parking enforcement.

The new equipment would go to parking enforcement officers “so that they can be better equipped to get around campus and respond to where they are needed,” said campus police chief Robert Deane.

The Gators are already in use on campus. There are no costs for them except for “minimal” maintenance fees, Deane said.

Campus police negotiated the deal with Hartland for more than a year before the lease finally came through.

The Gators will be leased to campus police for a year. At the end of that year, campus police will turn in the Gators and get two new ones.

The Gators are under warranty for the year.

Hartland president Sam Lawson said the company was leasing the Gators to Western because he and his company respects Deane and his officers.

“We think he and his group have done a good job at Western,” Lawson said.

He said the Gators driving on the Hill will provide good exposure for both Hartland and John Deere.

“We felt it was a good thing for us to do to help support the community and for us to get good exposure in the community,” Lawson said.

Parking enforcement officer Lori Kostiuk said the Gators would allow officers to respond to calls more quickly and efficiently.

“We’ll be able to cover a wider base,” she said.

Capt. Mike Wallace said the size of the campus makes the Gators more useful.

“There are parking areas that need continuous enforcement,” he said.

The Gators primary purpose is for parking enforcement, but they may also be used for other activities on campus.

Reach Beth Wilberding at [email protected]