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By A

By A.J. KING

ajk012@latech.edu

 

Brandon Murdock, a senior computer science major, starts his shift at 6 p.m. He gets his keys and the radio, checks his cart and starts patrolling campus, asking if anyone needs a ride. His shift ends at 3 a.m.

Murdock is a cart driver, escorting students and visitors in the dark hours and making Tech’s campus a safe place.

“We’re like extra eyes. When the cops patrol, they can’t see some of the sidewalks,” Murdock said.

Murdock drives the big cart; he calls it the extended cab. This cart takes him around every corner of campus as he gets calls.

Murdock said the amount of calls he gets varies from night to night.

“Some nights it’s six or seven, or sometimes I get close to 20,” Murdock said.

Murdock said he gets all kinds of people calling for an escort.

“If there’s a function in Tolliver, I get guys and girls going from Tolliver to Mitchell. If the cafeteria is closing, I’ll get football players going from the cafeteria to Hutchison,” He said.

Murdock said he thinks his job is important because it helps people feel safe at Tech.

“Whenever there are functions, kids come from other schools and say the service is great,” Murdock said.

He also said he has made friends with those he escorts.

“Friendly people get on, and we just start talking,” Murdock said.

He said being a cart driver has made him more socially active.

“I know people, and people know me,” Murdock said. “It makes it a lot easier to be around here because I’m from St. Louis. I can’t go home whenever I want.”

Tech Police Chief Steve Quinnelly said the program started in the early ‘90s.

“We wanted to do some innovative things to help with crime prevention,” he said.

Quinnelly said he was inspired by University of Southern Mississippi which used golf carts as escorts.

“It was very popular right off the bat,” Quinnelly said.

The escorts have continued to be popular. In the 2005-2006 school year, Quinnelly said there were 7,333 escorted. If students need a ride, they can call 257-4018 and may be picked up by one of the four cart drivers.

Ashley Cole, a junior biology major, has used the cart services, and she said she feels safer when she is escorted.

“You’re on a golf cart with an escort. You’re not likely to fear anything,” Cole said.

She also said she thinks the presence of the escorts keeps the campus safe.

Cole said, “It adds a sense of protection if you need it, just knowing it’s there.”


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