Could you ever take a Toyota Prius with flashing red and blue lights in your rear view mirror seriously? I don't think I could, but the mayor of Seattle thinks the hybrids would be a great option for his city's police department. The cops, unsurprisingly, do not agree.
According to Seattle's The Stranger, the city — like many others — is trying to sort out exactly what car will replace the venerable-but-discontinued Ford Crown Victoria in its police fleet. The city has identified several possible Crown Vic replacements, but the police claim the decision has already been made from on high.
In the November issue of the Guardian, the newspaper of the Seattle Police Officers' Guild, a sergeant wrote that the winning vehicle was the Ford Explorer Police Interceptor, which a lot of departments are opting for these days. But he says outgoing Mayor Mike McGinn wants Priuses instead.
Just picture it: A brand-new fleet of hulking police SUVs cruising the city while the department tries to soften its image. The department is currently under a federal consent decree that contends police have used excessive force and racially biased tactics. Not to mention the city is also trying to meet new climate goals.
That SUV recommendation came from the SPD, the union, and the city's fleets officials. But it's no wonder Mayor Mike McGinn put on the brakes.
What does the mayor prefer?
According to Elster, McGinn "felt that a hybrid vehicle, such as the Toyota Prius, would be more suitable and 'in tune with city values.'"
Emphasis mine. A mayor's spokesman later told The Stranger that while city cars should be as green as possible, "the Prius is not a real option," but that they have deferred picking a replacement car until they can look at additional testing for fuel efficiency.
But a Prius isn't a real option. Police cars are more than just cars — they need to be rugged, able to carry a ton of stuff and people, good in a pursuit, and reasonably inexpensive to buy and maintain. The Prius doesn't hit most of those points, and I'm sure any actual officer would balk at the thought of using one for patrol, regardless of Seattle's green "values."
The decision on police cars now rests with mayor-elect Ed Murray. Hopefully he'll make the right choice, like a Lamborghini or a Gran Torino or something.
Hat tip to Leicester in Oppo!