35 new police cars to improve response time in Columbia

By Ben Hoover - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - If your home is robbed, you hear shots fired or see someone get attacked, you want police there fast.

Columbia police officers are saying dozens of new patrol cars will make it happen.

It's a job where seconds count. Rose Lynn is in her fifth year of patrolling the heart of Columbia. She works twelve and a half hour shifts. Most of that time is spent in her patrol car, which she refers to as her "office."

"It just makes coming' to work and doing' our job a lot easier to have equipment that works properly," expressed Corporal Lynn.

Corporal Lynn treats her new Chevy Impala like a baby. It's one of 35 technologically-advanced patrol cars in Columbia's fleet. To say she doesn't miss her old car is an understatement. It was 12-years-old and had more than 150,000 miles on it. "I'd actually have to carry a jump box or jumper cables because most mornings it would not start when I was ready to go to work," Corporal Lynn claimed.

But those days are over. The new cars will be equipped with GPS tracking devices. It's a perk Corporal Lynn said would get officers to you faster in an emergency. "Whatever officer is closest to that location is gonna be able to respond, which makes response time a lot less," she stated.

The cars are decked out with even more technology. There's software with the ability to report crimes instantly and digital video systems. "They even upgraded the backseats," said Corporal Lynn, "But trust me, it's not more comfortable for the bad guys. Still no leg room and the seats are rock hard. No more cushioned seats where criminals could stash drugs or weapons."

Even the glass divider is bigger and better. "So if the suspect vomits or spits or tries to spit bodily fluids at the officer, it makes it hard to reach the officer," explained Corporal Lynn.

With an "office" that involves flying bodily fluids and years of packing jumper cables, Corporal Lynn said the new cars are boosting officer morale. "They're more proud of their department because we have nicer equipment," she said.

The GPS system in Columbia's new cars will be in-sync with Richland County patrol cars. It allows 911 dispatchers to send the closest car from either department to an emergency.

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