Public Safety introduces new initiative: Mobile Treat Unit, converted ice cream truck


Courtesy of Chris Deucher/The Villanovan

Chris Deucher

On Thursday, Sept. 14, the University’s Department of Public Safety unveiled its newest student-outreach program.  The Mobile Treat Unit, a converted 2006 Jack and Jill Ice Cream Van, will now meander throughout the University and hand out free ice cream.  The goal of the Mobile Treat Unit is to help foster a stronger sense of comfort and understanding between students and the Department of Public Safety and its officers.

“It is really just a way to be able to reach out to students in a positive setting,” David Tedjeske, Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police, said.  “People bond over food, so it starts a conversation. If it makes people more comfortable with Public Safety and more willing to report if they have a problem, that is what we want. The goal of this is to make students comfortable with our department and the services that we provide and [to realize] that we are approachable and helpful. I just saw it as an opportunity for our staff to reach out and interact with students in a positive way.”

“For me, I really enjoyed the experience, because it makes it very evident that public safety wants to create a better relationship with the students,” Brad de Jesus, a sophomore who stopped for an ice cream snack, stated.  “I really liked that Chief Tedjeske directly went to us to get to know us as individuals. It shows that he, as a leader, is here for the students as a support system, rather than just a figure of authority.  It is definitely a move in the right direction so that we as students feel more comfortable around them.”

The Mobile Treat Unit is an extension of the programs already in place to help foster relationships between students and officers.  The Department of Public Safety continues to engage with students in programs such as “Dinner and Dialogue,” in which groups of students and officers converse over a meal.

“Going into [‘Dinner and Dialogue’], I always thought that the students were really interested in what we had to say and what the programs were,” Tedjeske stated.  “[However,] what they are interested in is getting to know the officers as individuals, not necessarily what we had to say.”  

The Mobile Treat Unit will make random appearances throughout campus and at some special events.  The vehicle has already piqued the interest of many on-campus events and organizations.  Furthermore, its kickoff at the circle behind the Connelly Center was met by smiling, pleasantly-surprised students.  Remember to look out for the Mobile Treat Unit—the quite distinctive vehicle in the Department of Public Safety’s fleet—and enjoy ice cream and conversation with the officers.