By ROGER THORNHILL SEP. 29, 2014
RALEIGH, NC — Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown recently announced the purchase of a dozen Fiat 500s for conversion to police cruisers. The move adds another make and model to an already diverse fleet that includes Ford Crown Victorias, Ford Tauruses, Chevy Impalas, Dodge Chargers, Dodge Sprinters, Ford Explorers, Chevy Tahoes, Ford F-150s, Harley-Davidson motorcycles, bicycles, horses and Segways.
Chief Deck-Brown defended the decision saying, “Having a large variety of vehicles makes sense to fill a wide range of roles for RPD. In addition, vehicle choice boosts officer morale. We’re not talking about your run-of-the-mill Fiat here. We’re talking about the Abarth, which I think translates to ‘scorpion’ from Italian. And just like real-life scorpions, those little jokers are fast, stealthy, and pack a punch. Plus, we can get ’em for about $16k apiece.”
Tazra Mitchell, of the left-leaning North Carolina Justice Center, applauded the move. “In an age when police forces have become more and more militarized, this is a welcome shift that I believe is fiscally sound and puts a friendlier face on the police department. Is there really a justifiable need to have police driving around in very aggressive-looking Chevy Impalas?”
Critics complain that the growing diversity is costing taxpayers more for maintenance. Rusty Paine, Chief Maintenance Officer for the department, stated, “I heard Fiat stands for ‘Fix It Again, Tony.’ Well, we got a Jimmy, a Stan, a Lattrell, three Bubbas, and a Chong Li for the Segways. We’re gonna have to hire a Tony.”
Russell Flapps, president of the Wake Association of Concerned Taxpayers (WACT), believes the decision is a boondoggle for taxpayers. “Number one, the damn thing is I-talian. Number two, it ain’t American. Number three, the I-talians can’t build anything that ain’t a piece of crap, which means we gotta fix it more. It would be like giving our po-lice and military Berettas. Four, Chief Deck-Brown couldn’t get into that thing without a 2×4 and a can of KY Jelly,” he said recently.
Fred Hollister, local representative for the Police Benevolence Association, was concerned that the small vehicle would emasculate officers and embolden thugs. Sen. Floyd McKissick, Jr. (D., Durham) was incensed by the suggestion. “I know someone who drives a Fiat 500 and in no way does it suggest that the driver has a small penis. In fact, think it says ‘I am confident that my size is adequate and I can drive a small, effeminate car’,” he said.
Hollister countered that there were more practical concerns at play. “I mean, it has what? A hundred horsepower? That thing couldn’t catch a rickshaw. Not even one driven by a overweight, old pedicab driver. And I think we both know who that is and why I didn’t tip you on that ride from Caffe Luna to the opera. It was downhill, for Pete’s sake.”
The North Carolina Highway Patrol has looked into a similar move for their fleet, but reportedly dismissed the idea as the backseat was not large enough to have sex in.