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City police using ‘stealth’ vehicles

City Police Officer Kyle Green patrols downtown Cortland on Friday in a white Chevrolet Silverado with ghosted lettering that is made visible using a camera flash. City police purchased two ghosted vehicles this year, a 2016 Chevrolet Tahoe and a 2016 Chevrolet Silverado. The vehicles will help police crack down on violations for speeding and seat belt usage, said Deputy Chief Paul Sandy.

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

City Police Officer Kyle Green patrols downtown Cortland on Friday in a white Chevrolet Silverado with ghosted lettering that is made visible using a camera flash. City police purchased two ghosted vehicles this year, a 2016 Chevrolet Tahoe and a 2016 Chevrolet Silverado. The vehicles will help police crack down on violations for speeding and seat belt usage, said Deputy Chief Paul Sandy.

Drivers should be more concerned with following traffic laws now that city police have two vehicles, which during the day appear to be civilian vehicles.

The two vehicles — a 2016 Chevrolet Tahoe and a 2016 Chevrolet Silverado — appear to be unmarked. However,they have all appropriate police and911 markings like other police vehicles, the only difference is the use of “ghostdecals.”

These decals are difficult to see until light reflects off them, said Paul Sandy, deputy chief of city police. The vehicles with the ghost decals on them are referred to as “ghosted,” said city police Lt. David Guerrera.

The two ghosted vehicles were purchased this year, the Tahoe in late June and the Silverado in late July, Guerrera said, then taken to Bush Electronics Inc. in Liverpool to be outfitted with lights, sirens and the holding cages.

The Silverado is equipped with a half seat in the back to hold suspects and a cabinet which holds drop sticks, rope and other equipment, Guerrera said.

“You wouldn’t think the Silverado can store all the equipment used, but it can,” Guerrera said.

City police got the idea for ghosted vehicles from the Ithaca Police Department, Guerrerasaid. The intent is to help crack downmore on violations, Sandy said. When a driver is on the phone, not buckled upor even speeding, the first thing they do when they see a police vehicle iscorrect themselves, and the new ghosted police vehicles are intended tocatch violators and send a message, Sandy said.

Officers are also able to see more traffic violations because there is no light bar or decals visible from far away to alert drivers, Guerrera said.

The vehicles are stealthier, Sandy said. There are no lights on top and thedecals can’t be seen until up close. “This helps us approach a situation quicker,” Sandy said.

During the day, the stickers are barely visible; at night, light reflects off the decals and makes the cars noticeable, Sandy said.

The ghosted vehicles can be driven by any of the patrol officers on staff at the department but are usually assigned to officers who write more traffic tickets, Guerrera said.

The Silverado is also used for transporting around materiel such as barricades, traffic cones and even bikes, he said.

The funding for the two vehiclescame from the department’s annualbudget, which contains two separatevehicle funds, one for purchasing newvehicles and the other for maintenance of the vehicles, Guerrera said. The costfor the decals were not available Friday afternoon.

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