In an effort to expand police coverage across the greater South Side, the University of Chicago Police Department has invested $12 million in a state-of-the-art patrol zeppelin. The airship, capable of staying aloft for over 50 hours on a single tank of helium, is equipped with dozens of high-tech crime-fighting gadgets capable of extending UCPD’s jurisdiction to the heavens above.
The zeppelin, christened the UCS Arley D. Cathey, carries several high-powered spotlights to illuminate the back alleys of the South Side and whatever room you’re currently fucking in. A sophisticated radar is able to track students by their UCIDs, keeping precise tabs on their every move, provided they never misplace their IDs, which UCPD has been assured rarely happens. A set of booming loudspeakers will revolutionize the formerly text-only Security Alerts, so even students unable to access their emails will still be able to hear the sonorous voice of Eric M. "Jay" Heath (Vice President of Safety and Security) detailing the latest crimes and advisories from the skies above. A small fleet of UCPD biplanes will also be deployable from the zeppelin’s hangar bay, allowing for even more rapid response from campus security.
Woodlawn community leaders have been vocal in their opposition to the project. Many view this as a form of “vertical gentrification”, extending UChicago’s influence into regional airspace. The university denies such accusations, claiming that any self-respecting institution of higher learning has an obligation to maintain an effective aerial superfortress.
In unrelated news, the zeppelin will also be host to a chic, high-end shopping center, complete with fine dining and entertainment venues. The university has expressed a deep, almost primal interest in putting a new dorm in the zeppelin, which will require a number of dedicated transport aircraft to ferry students between campus and their vast, looming residence in the sky.