New York is a big city and its finest will soon be patrolling the streets of the Big Apple in the smallest mass-produced car, the Smart Fortwo.
The NYPD has taken delivery of 100 of the tiny 2-seaters, with another 150 on order. But the cars won’t be replacing the Crown Vics that are so well known in person and in various media. Rather, the Fortwos will be replacing the 3-wheeled fully-enclosed scooters the police force uses.
The advantages are two fold — the cars are used year-round with the discomfort of winter driving, because officers will be completely sheltered from the elements; and they will also provide comfort on those steamy summer days, thanks to their air-conditioning.
Other considerations, say officials, is that being classified as a passenger car, they also offer better occupant protection (with airbags, for example), and they cost about half as much as replacement scooters (which reportedly clock in at about $27,000 US; the Fortwo retails from $14,650).
The cars will be fitted with roof lights and police radio equipment, as standard issues.
The vehicles will make up about 3% of the overall police vehicle fleet that totals in the neighbourhood of 9,000 vehicles, and they will be dressed up in the traditional blue and white NYPD livery as they attend to parking and school service duties, as well as attending emergencies in the heart of the city, where getting around is often easier in tiny vehicles.
“The smart is spacious and agile and makes my job much easier,” said Officer Ralph Jefferson, one of the first officers to take the wheel of a Fortwo. “Many people say that the little patrol cars are really cute, too.”