Phoenix parking cops zipping around town in new "smart cars" - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Phoenix parking cops zipping around town in new "smart cars"

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PHOENIX -

There's a new, smaller law enforcement vehicle on the streets in downtown Phoenix. Parking enforcement officers are riding around in new "smart cars."

The old parking enforcement cars just weren't cutting it. The company went out of business, no parts were available and they were getting too expensive to maintain. Not to mention they didn't have air conditioning.

The new cars hit the streets last week and are already drawing lots of attention. You might have seen them out and about, zipping along Phoenix streets.

The city's new smart cars are tiny and cute and parking violators will hate them. Five smart cars will be used for parking enforcement.

Officers are already out in the two-seaters, writing tickets.

The city had been looking for new parking enforcement vehicles for years and had certain requirements.

"It had to be small, had to be able to turn really tight, had to be efficient, had to be able to idle for a long period of time," said Phoenix Police Sgt. Ben Moore.

Parking enforcement has driven Go-4s since the 90's. They go up on two wheels when you turn corners and have virtually no safety features. The smart cars are not only physically smaller, but so is the price tag of $16,000.

"They're very efficient and actually about $10 to 12,000 less a vehicle than the Go-4s were," said Sgt. Moore.

Before buying the fleet of small cars, the department checked them out in person.

"We got officers in our unit of all different sizes, from 5'5 to 6'3. We had people drive it around to make sure people were going to be comfortable in these vehicles."

Parking enforcement officers say there's plenty of room for their gear. But don't get any ideas about this fleet expanding and becoming the PD patrol vehicle.

"Definitely not… not enough room obviously, no place to put a prisoner."

Still, 18 Aussies crammed into a smart car last year to set a Guinness world record. Make all the smart remarks you want, but the city calls the smart cars a smart buy.

"It's more efficient, they are smarter cars for them to drive in the city, saves money not only in the purchase but in the gas mileage for them."

What the parking enforcement likes is that the smart cars have air conditioning.

The Go-4s only had blowers, not ideal for 110 degrees in the summer.

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