The Central Park Precinct received the new $ 13,270 Smart Car a few weeks ago but it has been confined to the parking lot due to winter weather conditions and the agency's rule which prevents officers from going out on patrol alone. The order was put in place after the two officers were murdered in Brooklyn in December. (Photos: Geoffry Croft/NYC Park Adovcates) Click on images to enlarge.
The new vehicles will improve the heath and safety of police officers on several fronts. For years police have complained that the three-wheel scooters became sweat boxes in warmer months and that the city refused to purchase the inexpensive airconditioning upgrades. Any plan that reduces the chance of equipment spontaneously bursting into flames is also a plus.
By Geoffrey Croft
The NYPD is testing smart cars in a pilot program. If successful the NYPD would replace the standard three-wheel scooter fleet with a more safer, comfortable and less costly vehicle.
The Central Park Precinct received a vehicle a few weeks ago under the new program but it has been confined to the parking lot.
The vehicles come with numerous safety feature upgrades over the scooters. The Smart Cars, built by Mercedes-Benz have good crash test safety ratings, whereas scooters have not been rated. Improved safety features also include standard anti-lock braking system (ABS), a steel tridion safety cell which surrounds occupants inspired by racecar roll cages, full-size driver and passenger side knee-bolsters, as well as window-curtain airbags, while scooters have none.
The Smart Cars also bolster a 34 City/38 highway/36 average miles per gallon.
The Smart Cars cost $ 13,270 compared to $ 27,000 for the scooters.
The NYPD has also had issues with the current scooters spontaneously bursting into flames over the years. In 2013 several were destroyed including one in Central Park and one in Brooklyn Bridge Park. These were not the first incidents according to police.
The charred metal skeleton of an NYPD Interceptor is all that remains after suddenly bursting into flames in Central Park. (Photos: Geoffry Croft/NYC Park Adovcates) Click on images to enlarge.
Besides the environmental, safety, and cost benefits the most immediate impact will be felt in the warmer months with the officer's comfort. The new vehicles are equipped with air conditioning.
For years police have complained about the stifling hot sweat boxes and the fact that the city refused to purchase the inexpensive air upgrade for the scooters.