No blue light special: Brookhaven’s pricey Tesla could soon turn up on street patrols

Brookhaven residents could soon see a Tesla outfitted in blue lights patrolling the city’s streets.

The electric luxury car — believed to be the first to be outfitted as a police car in Georgia — hit the testing track for the first time Tuesday, and “performed well” in speed and emergency response tests, the city said in a statement.

For the second phase of the evaluation, it will be used “in the field” in Brookhaven for 90 days. It could perform patrols and respond to active incidents.

“If the inaugural Tesla performs well, it is possible that over time all city vehicles will be replaced with electric cars, but not necessarily Tesla,” the statement said.

» PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Brookhaven police’s $45K Tesla to hit the track for testing

» READ MORE: Brookhaven police use confiscated funds to buy Tesla for $45K

The police department bought the previously owned 2015 Tesla Model S for $45,000 in confiscated funds. After outfitting it with the lights and gear it would need to be a functional police cruiser, it was tested Tuesday at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth.

The city said it was tested on tracks designed for high-speed response and “urban emergency response.” No details of the car’s performance were released to the public.

Credit: City of Brookhaven

Credit: City of Brookhaven

“I don’t know of any other city this side of the Mississippi that is testing an electric vehicle platform for patrol vehicles. Other cities have electric cars for administrative purposes, but we would be the first to use them for law enforcement patrol operations,” Brookhaven City Manager Christian Sigman said in a statement.

The city views the electric Tesla as a way to further its commitment to environmental sustainability, though news of the purchase caused some metro Atlanta residents to question why a city spent tens of thousands of dollars on a luxury car.

But Brookhaven officials said it will save the city money over time.

“It’s maintenance-free,” police Chief Gary Yandura told Channel 2 Action News. “We get no oil changes. The only thing we have to worry about, basically, is brakes and tires.”

The Teslas are renowned for speed, with most models capable of going from 0 to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds.

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