Sunday, May 27, 2001

Police patrol carts
to return soon

The Go-4 fleet was stabled
for preventive work after
an accident

By Rod Antone

A Honolulu company hopes to have some of the Police Department's Go-4 vehicles back on the road this coming week.

On May 17, police Chief Lee Donohue put the entire Go-4 fleet of 81 vehicles in storage after a recent accident that injured a police officer.

The Go-4s are three-wheeled patrol vehicles similar to the department's older model Cushmans. While the Go-4s were purchased from a Canadian company called Westward Industries Ltd., a local distributor in Honolulu, Gem of Hawaii, will be fixing the carts.

"It's not as big a deal as people think," said Gem general manager Mark Snyder. "The problem doesn't affect all the Go-4s, but rather than inspect each one we're replacing all of the parts."

Snyder said Friday that he expects some of the Go-4s to be back on the road by the end of this week.

Snyder said Westward Industries had a recall last year of Go-4 vehicles having certain serial numbers, and that HPD had about three or four of those in its fleet. But Snyder also said the recent accident, which spurred HPD to store its Go-4s, did not involve any of those recalled vehicles.

Chief Donohue said last week that the accident, earlier this month, involved the officer's losing control of his Go-4 after its torsion bar snapped. There was also an accident in the last two years, in which the cart's front end dropped to the road.

Snyder said the problem is a suspension defect in some of the Go-4s that has been identified as the control arms. He said they control the angle of the wheels. Snyder said he did not know how long it would take to retrofit all the Go-4s, only that there should be no complications.

"These vehicles are being used all over the country," Snyder said. "And this is the first recall since the department started using them in 1993."

The Go-4s are popular with officers in Waikiki, where police said they use about 10 Go-4s per shift. Police there said the smaller carts are easier to get around, especially in heavy traffic.

"We haven't had any problems because we're using patrol cars instead," said Waikiki Lt. David Eber. "But I think some of the officers are anxiously awaiting to get their Go-4s back."

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