It won’t make getting pulled over for traffic stops any more pleasant, but The Governor of Svalbard is hoping an abundance of distinctive blue light emitting from its new police vehicle offer a more enlightening encounter with residents and tourists during dark times.
The Toyota Land Cruiser unveiled Friday at the governor’s headquarters is customized with large reflective exterior strips, heavy-duty front winch and an easy-access collection of emergency response equipment in the rear cargo space, Police Chief Lt. Anders Haugerud said. It is not, unlike some big-city patrol cars, modified with “cop tires, cop suspension, cop shocks” and such, meaning the identical model can be purchased minus the extras a couple hundred meters from the governor’s office at Svalbard Auto.
Haugerud said the improved equipment access is the biggest upgrade compared to the governor’s other police vehicles.
“The number one thing is to avoid injuries we want to be able to take things out easier,” he said.
The proliferation of reflective strips are, of course, the most visible change from other local police vehicles, which Haugerud will hopefully overcome the difficulty some people have recognizing the older vehicles during dark periods. He said the high visibility is also is meant to be more inviting than intimidating.
“Tourists can see it’s the governor’s car,” he said. “That will make it easier for them to find us and talk to us.”
It is the third hybrid vehicle in the governor’s police fleet – but the only such configured Land Cruiser in use by law enforcement in Norway.
The new SUV cost about 850,000 kroner and, no, they didn’t haggle over price, but “compared to other offers – other makes and models – we got a fair deal,” Haugerud said. Other vehicles made by BMW and Mercedes were among those considered, but ultimately the Toyota’s features were preferred – and also happened to be sold and therefore serviceable at Longyearbyen’s only auto dealership.