It took her an hour to come up with a design that will become the staple of TCU Police.Maelen Richie, a sophomore interior design major, created a body design for the new Dodge Durango patrol vehicles TCU Police has been preparing for operation since Spring Break, Detective Kelly Ham said.
After TCU Police had carried the same vehicle design for about 10 years, TCU Police Chief Steve McGee knew it was time for something new, Ham said.
Ham said he had worked rigorously with other police officials to come up with some design options but said none of the designs impressed him. He submitted blank pictures of the Durango to Fred Oberkircher, interior design program coordinator, who presented the project to an interior design illustration class of 18 students.
Within an hour, Richie created a design of bold lines running sharply across both sides of the vehicle.
“It wasn’t inspired by anything,” Richie said. “I just colored in purple and white for an hour.”
Every police official who viewed Richie’s design commended it, Ham said.
“It looks like the vehicle is ready for action,” he said. “It’s crisp, clean and distinct, and that’s what we want.”
Richie was unaware that she would be awarded for her accomplishment.
“I feel kind of overwhelmed because it didn’t seem to be a big deal to me when it started,” she said.
Richie’s classmates and professor also expressed pride and excitement, not only for her work, but also for the course’s collective contribution to TCU Police.
Kaitlin Kelly, a sophomore interior design major, said she sees a lot of potential in Richie.
“It’s interesting that learning something here can translate into the real world, and we are only sophomores,” Kelly said.
Julienne Ballantyne, the interior design illustration professor, said the design project served as an opportunity to assist the police and said it is a privilege to have developed a design that will be prominent on campus.
Ham said the police have to replace their patrol vehicles with new models every two years to keep their operation running.
The 2006 Dodge Durango vehicles are more durable, equipped with computers and have brighter lights, Ham said.
He said unless the body styles change, the police plan to keep the new design for more than three years.