The Safe Escort Patrol Service (SEPS) serves the UCF community by making the main campus safer one night at a time.
They’ve been told they’re the eyes and ears of campus, said SEPS supervisor, Kyle Sindelar, a junior studying accounting at Seminole State College of Florida.
SEPS is a free service for students, staff, faculty and visitors of campus and is under the supervision of the UCF Police Department. There are two to four SEPS employees patrolling campus every night from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m., and one SEPS employee at the dispatch center at the UCF police headquarters.
Sindelar has been a SEPS employee since January 2014 and a UCF Police Department employee for four years.
You can find him or other SEPS employees driving golf carts around campus every night, transporting people who don’t feel safe when it gets dark.
Sindelar said there were 1,200 calls made to SEPS in September alone.
“I think we are doing a good job making a difference,” Sindelar said.
Kaly Carpenter, a junior studying criminal justice at Seminole State College of Florida, has been a SEPS employee since February 2014 and is now the assistant supervisor. She grew up in a police household and wanted a job that would give her more insight into her desired field.
“We’re kind of like rangers for the police department,” Carpenter said. “We go out and patrol everything for them.”
While on patrol, SEPS employees use the police ten-codes in order to have efficient communication over their radios.
“I like doing 10-14s, which is where you see somebody who looks like they might need a ride, like if they’re carrying a bunch of stuff or they look lost,” said Ryan Montgomery, SEPS employee and Valencia sophomore studying electrical engineering. “You can ask them if they want a ride to wherever they’re going.”
Students constantly praise SEPS for what it does to make UCF a safer place.
“We’re kind of always getting compliments like, ‘Oh, I’m so glad you guys do this sort of thing,’” Sindelar said.
While SEPS employees take their job seriously, there’s hints of fun as well.
Montgomery said he became a part of the weekly manhunt game that students play on Saturdays at midnight outside the UCF main campus library.
Montgomery’s shift was coming to a close around 12:30 a.m. when he drove by two girls who ran up to the cart and asked for a ride. The girls said they were playing manhunt and they wanted him to drive around the campus once and drop them off at base, which is the library. Without hesitation, Montgomery accepted the challenge.
Making connections with students makes the job even more enjoyable according to Zachary Lambe, SEPS employee and UCF sophomore studying film.
“I like helping people and meeting and interacting with new people,” Lambe said, “(SEPS) is a perfect mixture of both.”
Lambe describes one night when he saw a group of six people outside the music building practicing their trumpets while on stilts.
“I stopped and watched them, and they were pretty good,” Lambe said. “I didn’t think that at 12:30 in the morning that I’d pass by a trumpet show.”
Montgomery said he once picked up five people outside the main gym, even though the call was only for three. He was en route, a 10-51, to Tower 2 when the five passengers started to clap and make a beat. Then, one by one, they each started to rap and sing.
“They rapped about my name, the job I was doing, the places we were at and the people we drove by,” Montgomery said.
While on patrol, SEPS employees also radio-in situations they see to the 911 dispatchers at UCF.
“Our dispatcher sits in the same room as the police department dispatcher, so if somebody’s car is ever dead and they need a jump, we can tell the dispatchers to come help these people,” Montgomery said.
There are 12 state universities in Florida, and all of them have some type of police escort service, whether they’re walking escorts, golf carts or vans. The official school police department websites or staff for FAU, FIU, FAMU, FSU, UF and USF state that students are the escorts in their police escort programs, while the rest of the state universities use police.
UCF is not alone in striving to make its campus safer for the community, but it does have quite the group of dedicated SEPS employees who enjoy making UCF a safer place for all.