ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — A call for help just got much closer for those out enjoying Round Rock’s parks and trails. And it’s all thanks to the newest addition to the Round Rock Police Department’s fleet.
Two new recreational off-highway vehicles, known as ROHVs, will be out cruising through the city’s parks during the busy summer season.
“There’s a lot of bikers and walkers and joggers, it’s just the perfect vehicle for this,” said Officer Daniel Kilpatrick.
The vehicle lets visitors know not only are police around, but they can also get around much easier. “We are able to get into tighter spaces than a normal patrol vehicle, or firetruck or ambulance would be able to get access to. So we are able to respond to situations much faster,” said Officer Josh Lake.
With the warmer season already hitting Central Texas, the officers know what to look out for. “Our biggest concern is heat exhaustion, so we want to make sure we are out here, passing out water,” Lake said.
Keeping people hydrated is one thing, but answering calls for help is another. “You know, people could fall and have an accident because there are some steep walks here,” said park visitor Jeffrey McBride. “So I think having this is great.”
The ROHVs are equipped with radios to dispatch extra help if needed, providing an added sense of security for some families.
“It makes me feel more secure, I’m out here with my daughter — just a greater sense of community really,” said Kenya Nelson.
Round Rock has several officers trained on how to use the vehicles. They are also using trained volunteers to go out and patrol all the parks in the city during the week and on busy weekends.
“We will be patrolling Old Settlers Park, as well as the trails at Brushy Creek and even trails in neighborhood parks,” Lake said. “Being able to respond to an incident that might happen in the park, just means everything.”
The Round Rock Police Department is also taking steps to increase its number of officers. The department is now hiring officers and cadets. They’ve increased the starting salary to $57,054 — a 15 percent increase. Right now, the department is short about 20 officers. Click here to apply.