FIRST LOOK: Southwest Precinct’s new ‘mobile precinct’ arrives

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.

13 Replies to "FIRST LOOK: Southwest Precinct's new 'mobile precinct' arrives"

  • Jim December 4, 2015 (3:40 pm)

    I can guess the comments coming on this. For the record these are widely used commercial utility vans and can be found in all kinds of industries. They have been sold under several badges the most recent of which was Dodge. They are manufactured by Daimler. So just because you see a Mercedes hub cap on this truck, doesn’t mean that SPD bought a super premium truck… These are simply the best designed, economical service vans on the market right now.

  • wetone December 4, 2015 (5:46 pm)

    Van is the cheapest part of package. Money to outfit to SPD specs are probably 2x if not more cost of van. Question I would have is it needed when others are available ? If anyone spends time to look at money city spends on equipment that never gets used or used very little before going to surplus it’s an eye opener. Rather see city spend money on hiring more officers….

  • islewrite December 4, 2015 (5:59 pm)

    And note that the same jerk who killed Officer Tim Brenton (i will not speak his name) was responsible for the Charles St. arson as well

  • Wsea98116 December 4, 2015 (6:02 pm)

    Good call, Jim- I’m sure those concerns will be forthcoming.
    I was thinking there would be a great outcry about this level of equipment posing an overwhelming and oppressive military police-type atmosphere, or some such nonsense. (Which it does not, but I would welcome!)

  • dsa December 4, 2015 (6:27 pm)

    I want one.

  • JayDee December 4, 2015 (6:48 pm)

    I am just hoping to see it deployed on Alki next summer. I’d say they need two — Seattle is pretty big and being able to process on-site keeps the cops in the area. Which is valuable to Alki, but may help other parts of our great city.

  • cjboffoli December 4, 2015 (6:56 pm)

    It’s nice but I think it needs an espresso machine.

  • Seattle December 4, 2015 (7:00 pm)

    Good for SPD. In light of all the dangerous things going on in the USA, I welcome more of a presence from SPD.

  • Jim December 4, 2015 (8:24 pm)

    If I recall, the original purpose of the Mobile Precinct was a stop gap measure for West Seattle after the South Precinct moved further South and further East leaving West Seattle with sometimes long response times when staff were back at the office handling the paperwork side of the job. After the South West precinct was built the need for the MP was not as critical. But it certainly found other uses during high traffic times on Alki and at special events. Having some experience in event production, and in light of current events, I welcome this new tool for the police to our community.

  • Wendell December 5, 2015 (11:22 am)

    I hope SPD gets more of these blue taco trucks. These vehicles have limitless uses to help the boys and girls in blue do their increasingly difficult work.

  • mike December 5, 2015 (7:54 pm)

    I like it! Looks cool.

  • Mike December 6, 2015 (8:17 am)

    Jim, the Chrysler deal with Mercedes died years ago. These are designs by Mercedes engineers which at one point was being produced in the USA by Chrysler/Dodge. The use Mercedes BlueTEC engines. They are commercial vehicles, which is something most people in the USA don’t associate with Mercedes. The rest of the world uses a lot of Mercedes commercial vehicles, even taxis.
    The van itself starts at about $40k. I’d assume with all the modifications and equipment, these are upward of $120-$150k when all said and done, which is not that much considering how much it is to build an outpost facility with the same equipment. I’d ask for more of these and have more police officers around town.

  • Born on Alki 59 December 7, 2015 (6:43 am)

    The total “capitalized value” is $292,797.
    This includes the cost of the van chassis, tax, license, labor, outfitting and all electronics.

    Please don’t ask me how I know….

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