We have noticed that there has been some negative feedback relating to a recently posted video of the Batavia Police Department’s new Traffic Enforcement Unit vehicle. In an effort to clear up any confusion there may be about this vehicle, its purpose, and the configuration of the rest of the BPD vehicle fleet, I would like to share a few facts about it.
This new vehicle was purchased as part of our regular capital replacement plan as outlined in our Department’s 2017 fiscal budget to replace an aging squad car in our fleet – a 2011 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, which had been in service for the previous six years. The vehicle had in excess of 110,000 miles on it, along with a high number of idle hours that are commonly associated with patrol work activities. It had also recently experienced some major mechanical failures. The new vehicle (with some additional factory wiring to accommodate lighting installation) was purchased for a cost of $27,908 through a purchasing cooperative. With the addition of all required equipment, the total cost of vehicle has been approximately $45,000.
The equipment carried on this vehicle is nearly identical to a general patrol vehicle, (and it can also be used in that function). This equipment includes: an emergency lighting solution, a GETAC mobile data tablet, a Stalker Doppler radar unit with forward and rear facing antennae, mobile radio, dual weapons mount for rifle/shotgun, prisoner partition and seating arrangement, CPR/AED kit, 2 doses of NARCAN, and a PROGARD emergency equipment box complete with all necessary field investigations equipment. In addition to standard patrol equipment, this vehicle, because it serves primarily a traffic enforcement purpose, is also equipped with a Stalker brand “LIDAR” laser unit and crash investigation/crash reconstruction equipment. The markings on this vehicle actually cost less than a standard patrol vehicle because the white vinyl door wrappings were not included in this purchase.
The continuing transition of our patrol fleet from the Ford Crown Victoria (which had been the primary patrol vehicle for BPD from 1997-2011) to the Ford Explorer SUV Interceptor temporarily increases the cost of transition out of one vehicle platform into another, due to the incompatibility of some of the component items. But once the conversion is complete, all serviceable accessory components are transferred from vehicle to vehicle, greatly reducing transition costs. (As an example, some of the vehicle components being decommissioned now have been in service in numerous patrol vehicles since pre-2000).
All BPD patrol vehicles are equipped to, and engage in traffic enforcement activities. In 2016, BPD officers made more than 9100 traffic enforcement contacts. One type of vehicle code violation that is of increasing concern throughout the community and country has been the increase in distracting driving. Distracting driving in the form of talking, texting and web browsing is as significant an issue as impaired driving is on our roadways today, and it seems to be growing at an alarming rate. Crashes in our community have been trending upward for the past several years, and distracted driving is no doubt a contributory cause of this increase. This vehicle has been deployed to combat those types of violations and increase the average motorist’s sense of law enforcement presence on the road. If you are the type of driver who needs to see a vehicle approaching or on a side street with overhead emergency lights and white door panels before you are compelled to slow down, stop talking or texting, then this vehicle is for you. We hope (and predict) that the presence of this vehicle in our community will make drivers think a little bit more about engaging in dangerous driving behaviors on our community’s roadways.
Daniel M. Eul, Chief of Police