Why Does the NYPD Have a Shredding Truck?

Last week, a Mr. William Dobbs sent The TimesCity Room a photograph of a mysterious looking police vehicle he’d seen in Chinatown asked them to help him find out what it was. The game was then afoot! Today the blog has posted its answer: it’s a mobile document-shredding unit.

That’s the who (the NYPD), what (a document-destroying truck), when (anytime, it’s mobile), where (anywhere, it’s mobile) and how (shredding) sorted, so only one question remains: why? Why does the NYPD have a document-destroying truck that can be used anytime and anywhere?

The department’s chief spokesman Paul Browne was happy to indentify the truck, and even slipped a charming pun into his answer to The Times: “I can shred light on it: It was there to shred N.Y.P.D. documents at that location.” He did not respond to their, and our, natural follow-up.

The police have been known to shred things in that neighborhood before, so it’s possible that the truck was there for similar reasons. Or perhaps it was destroying no-longer-legal stop-and-frisk records. Take-out menus? The possibilities are endless!