By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
As soon as next week, you’ll see the Southwest Precinct‘s long-awaited new Mobile Precinct out on the street – actually, most likely in a lot at Westwood Village.
That’s where precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis says he’s planning to send it first, with a visit to South Park not far behind, and then, if all goes as planned, The Junction. Here’s a :15 video look around the outside:
He showed us the van today, after we contacted him to ask for a photo op, once we learned – while covering this week’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting – that the Mobile Precinct had finally arrived.
It’s been mentioned during SPD briefings at so many other community-council meetings this past year or so, you’d have thought it was here by now, but it arrived just days ago.
It’s significantly smaller than the precinct’s old one – which was destroyed in the firebomb attack on the Charles Street yard downtown six years ago. West Seattle is supposed to have its own, according to this page of the SPD manual, which also specifies what vehicles like this are supposed to be used for.
If you’ve seen one in this area since then, it was borrowed from another part of the city. Now, no more borrowing. Whether it’s Alki Beach in the summer or Westwood Village in the holiday season, the precinct has one to deploy. “It’s a definite force multiplier for us,” says Capt. Davis.
Before it can officially head out, he has to get some staff trained to drive it, and that’s expected to happen within a week or so.
It’s about the size of a TV live truck, with a camera-equipped mast on top, flat display screens inside, even a small compartment in the back with a toilet.
It’s painted with the distinctive new white lettering-on-dark blue SPD look.
Unlike its predecessor, it’s clearly labeled MOBILE PRECINCT on the sides and rear, though you wouldn’t have mistaken the old RV for anything else.
“We’re really excited about it, and we want to get it out there ASAP,” Capt. Davis said as our mini-tour concluded. What we don’t have yet are the van’s specs/cost – we have a request out to the city’s Finance and Administrative Services department, and will add them when we get them.