Police Departments Add Greener Crime-Fighting Vehicles

All over the country, big cities and small towns are trying to find new ways to be environmentally friendly. One of the newest green trends involves replacing regular police cruisers or motorcycles with electric ones.

Photo: Nick Allen, Flickr

The Big Apple is just one of the major cities greening their crime-fighting vehicle force. The New York Police Department has decided to incorporate 70 more Chevrolet Volt patrol cars into its fleet. The city estimates that each Volt added will save approximately 4, 000 gallons of gasoline and around $15, 000 during the lifespan of each individual car. These Chevy Volts have been rated by the EPA as the most fuel efficient compact cars found and sold in the United States. New York has also incorporated 70 new charging stations in locations all over the city to improve the convenience of these newly added vehicles. City municipal developers hope that the cars have two lasting effects: spread knowledge to the general public about the advantages and fuel economy of electric vehicles as well as offering a low emission environmentally friendly alternative in a busy, urban environment. Currently, the NYPD has the largest fuel-efficient vehicle fleet in the nation. However, it is not only big cities taking the lead on improving the environment but also smaller towns.

Zero DS Electric Bike - Photo: Nicolas Boullosa, Flickr

Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin, located in the southeastern part of the state, has a population of 7,600 and is about an hour away from the cities of Milwaukee and Green Bay. However, even this small town is doing its part to save the environment. Using money obtained through a federal grant, the Sheboygan Falls Police Department hopes to add an electric motorcycle to its law enforcement task force within the next few weeks. According to Chief of Police Steve Riffel, the Zero DS street bike-dirt bike hybrid will be funded by a $10,000 grant from the Wisconsin state Office of Justice Assistance. Riffel says the bikes can go through parks and trails and also can patrol along the streets. Riffel also said that the bike will be purchased as soon as the city council approves it and should arrive within the next few weeks. Reaching a top speed of 68 mph and traveling up to 58 miles on a single charge, the bike, powered by a lithium battery, uses only approximately 48 cents of electricity per charge. Compare this to the price of gas today and it is clear which option is more energy and economically efficient. Sheboygan Falls was one of three Wisconsin towns to receive federal funding but so far is the only one to comment on the use of such funding.

While these are only two examples of how state and city officials are helping to improve the environment, many other state and city officials including those in Virginia and Massachusetts, have promised clean-air vehicles to join their crime-fighting fleets in the near future. We hope that someday soon, the advanced technologies used in the EcoCAR Competition will be included in police vehicles as well!

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