I don’t mean to beat this topic to death. The majority of you agree there needs to be less vehicular traffic on the boardwalk. Because of that, I plan on beating this topic to death.
Today we’re going to talk about alternative vehicles for our LBPD. While we all agree that they need to patrol and respond quickly and safely to all emergences, their 2.5 ton cars do contribute to some boardwalk damage. Besides, i’m not exactly sure how safe it is to drive an average sized car, on what is essentially a sidewalk. Perhaps we can replace them with a lighter and safer alternative vehicles?
So here are a few that police departments in other municipalities use. This stuff costs money, but so does large amounts of wood & nails, slip & fall lawsuits and hours of boardwalk repair. Footing the bill for better means of transportation that is lighter and safer is a no-brainer. Oh, and this does not apply to ambulances; I’m strictly talking daily patrol that does a wear and tear to the boardwalk and our wallets.
1) Let’s start with the basic: Mounted Police. I feel like when I first moved to Long Beach, I saw some horse-mounted LBPD. Can somebody please confirm whether or not our LBPD has horses? Benefits: They give the officers some height and eyesight distance, they look cool, you can pet them (the horses, not the officers) and besides, who doesn’t love a horse? Negatives: Not ideal for the officers during the colder months. The horses need food, care and a place to sleep. Lots of horse poop and flies all over the place. (Although, that can be a positive if we create a long Beach community garden).
2) Next we have the complete opposite of a horse: Segways. Our LBPD has them already; The LB Patch recently did a whole article about it (read – Segways on the Boardwalk). I’m not the biggest fan of segways for the LBPD, but what do I know? Maybe it’s because you can’t pet them like a horse, but they seem like an expensive gimmick that should be left for mall cops. Benefits: Futuristic, faster than a person running, easy to maneuver. Negatives: Not ideal during the cold months or snow. Also, when you see a person riding a segway, part of you wants to laugh; that is not ideal for the image of an intimidating police officer.
(Photo Credit – Sergeant Eric Cregeen, LB Patch: Segways on the Boardwalk)
3) The next two photos were sent in by a reader named KAYO, who said, “LBPD patrolled the boardwalk years ago with vehicles like these. They used a 3 wheel scooter that was nearly silent and caught lots of underage drinkers who didn’t notice it coming. There is no reason that they can’t return these lightweight’s to service.”
I personally don’t remember the three-wheel vehicles, but I also didn’t pay much attention to this stuff back then. Benefits: three wheels = one less flat tire to worry about. Less dangerous for pedestrians/cyclists during an emergency because they’re smaller and easier to maneuver. They take up less room, are lighter and more fuel efficient than your average police vehicle. They work every season too, so cold weather shouldn’t be a problem. Perhaps this is the way to go for LBPD boardwalk patrol? Negatives: I honestly can’t think of any.
4) Gem Cars / Golf Carts. I took the following photo in Coney Island just a few months ago. I was actually on that boardwalk for several hours and not once did I see a regular sized car or truck pass by. The sanitation carts even had hitches on the back for garbage storage. Our LBPD does have some all-terrain versions of these (wish I had a photo, but I don’t). Benefits & Negatives: Similar to the three-wheel cars (see above).
5) Bicycles. Benefits: Exercise! This is ideal on a hot summer day when the boardwalk is crowded. Negatives: Would require more LBPD patrol to cover more ground. Plus, I wouldn’t want to tourture Long Beach’s finest when it snows or rains.
Conclusion: I personally think those three-wheel carts or Gem/Golf Carts are the best way to go. They’ll keep the LBPD warm and dry when it’s cold and wet out. They’re faster than a person running, yet not large enough to create a dangerous situation if an emergency arises. Plus, the officers might not feel so removed from boardwalk-happenings like they might in their comfy cars. Most of all, these ligher vehicles will have less of an impact on our boards: A police vehicle can weigh somewhere between 2000 to 3500 pounds. A Gem Car? 1200 lbs, give or take the amount of options you give it.
Any thoughts? Am I missing anything?