SEARCY, Ark. – The Searcy Police Department is rolling out a new patrol vehicle for its trail system.

The department was awarded $15,000 in grant funds that were used to purchase a UTV. The vehicle will be used to patrol the trails in the city and keep runners safe.

Department officials said new routes were started last year after a Memphis teacher was killed while on her morning run.

“It’s heartbreaking,” Lt. Todd Wells with SPD said.  “It tells you, you can be anywhere, it can happen anywhere.”

At the time, officers were traveling up and down the trails by golf cart.

“When we drive on trails and we see [runners], they’re happy to see us,” Wells said. “You can tell it makes them more confident being out there.”

Wells said the new wheels will help with speed and the ability to drive through more extensive trails.

“It’s a lot more equipped with what we need,” he said.

Carl Morris walks along the trails in Searcy a few times a month.

“It’s peaceful,” Morris said. “It’s just a beautiful area to [walk] in.”

He said patrols have given him peace of mind knowing someone always has his back.