NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD is rolling out what it calls the “ultimate” police vehicle.
As CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported, it’s the latest in the department’s efforts to make the fleet more green.READ MORE: Candidate Conversations: Jack Ciattarelli
Grymes took a spin in the NYPD Highway Unit’s newest vehicle at Floyd Bennet Field.
Believe it or not, it’s a hybrid.
“You would think that highway patrol is all about muscle cars, Dodge Chargers, V6 Hemis,” said Officer Derek Poy, an instructor at the NYPD’s Driver Training Course. “With the hybrid, it does take off. It does get up to speed.”
The vehicle is a four-wheel drive Ford Hybrid.
“It’s actually a smoother ride and it’s a better fitting vehicle for our officers,” said Nicole Papamichael, commanding officer of the NYPD Highway Unit.
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The SUV was designed with input from Robert Martinez, deputy commissioner of the NYPD Support Services Bureau.
Martinez is in charge of the entire NYPD fleet.READ MORE: Liberty Science Center Breaks Ground On $300 Million SciTech Scity Expansion
“We got what I think is the ultimate police vehicle,” he said. “It gets great gas mileage. The maintenance is almost nothing on these vehicles.”
Martinez said the hybrid is much safer than the old school Crown Victoria, and is equipped for highway chases, if needed.
It’s not the NYPD’s first green vehicle. In 2009, the department started buying retail hybrids and turning them into patrol cars, adding lights, sirens and other necessary equipment.
Martinez believes the NYPD was the first department in the world to do that.
“So, why isn’t the entire fleet hybrid yet in the NYPD?” Grymes asked.
“Well, the technology just wasn’t there. On the police market, there was a lot of convincing to do,” he said. “Police departments in general are a little slow to change because we’re very traditional in the cars we use.”
Of the NYPD’s 8,900 vehicles on the road:
- 2,000 are hybrids
- 30 are fully electric
The department is now adding 35 new Ford Explorers — five will go to the highway unit, 30 to patrol.MORE NEWS: Watch CBS2’s Candidate Conversation With New Jersey Gubernatorial Candidate Jack Ciattarelli
Martinez said the original goal was to have the entire NYPD fleet switched to hybrid by 2024, but, given the city’s current financial situation, it’s unclear when that goal will be met.