The New York Police Department (NYPD) have officially announced that they will extend its fleet of Smart Cars - and replace the three wheeled scooters that officers have used for decades to navigate about New York City. The NYPD have already deployed 150 Smart Cars into the fleet, but plan to introduce an additional 75 in the coming months after reaching an agreement with the German automaker Daimler AG.
It has divided opinion amongst the general public in New York City, with some describing the innovations as 'cute' while others derided them with tabloid newspapers in the Big Apple labelling them as 'clown cars'. However, it has been described as more 'approachable' for civilians - while it has also been established that the vehicles are safer, cheaper and easier to operate than the scooters. In addition to that, unlike scooters, the Smart Cars go fast enough for highway travel.
Deputy Commissioner for Support Services at NYPD, Robert S. Martinez said it's his role to find the best technology which can best serve the police force in the state. He said: "One of my main jobs or responsibilities and it is one I take most pride in, is identifying and trying to source the best technology for police officers to use. Safety is paramount to everything we do in support services and fleet service."
It has no siren and no space for a suspect, but its look borrows heavily from that of the department's patrol cars, down to the blue stripes and the scrolling message board. The R.M.P., the shorthand in New York for a radio motor patrol car, has long been a defining symbol of the nation's largest municipal police force, one broadcast far beyond the city's borders by way of movies and television shows like "NYPD Blue" and "Law & Order."
The Police Department is among the first public safety organizations in the world to introduce the cars, and it is expected that more police departments across the US will adopt Smart Cars following the success of the project in New York.