No auto manufacturer makes a gas-electric hybrid designed
for police work. The city of
When the Homer Police Department set out to replace three
old Ford Crown
On Rosencrans’ recommendation, the Homer City Council last month approved piggy-backing on an order with the Anchorage Police Department, buying three new 2008 Impalas for $16,500 each, using fleet maintenance funds in the 2008 budget.
Turning a car into a police vehicle involves more than slapping on a decal, however. Homer PD cruisers have extra gear like light bars, prisoner partitions, rifle mounts, radios, radar and spotlights. The added electronics puts a strain on regular electrical systems.
Rosencrans looked into adapting gas-electric hybrids for a
police car. The
Rosencrans also looked at the Ford Escape hybrid SUV used by the Westwood, N.J., police department. Westwood reported its test vehicle got 28.9 mpg. Rosencrans looked at the Chevrolet Tahoe hybrid, but it required a special order and would come with features like leather or velour seats not suited for police use. The Tahoe hybrid hasn't been engineered for police use, GM said.
Purchasing the fuel-efficient Impalas will save the city about $2,000 in fuel costs, Rosencrans wrote in a memo to the city council. He said fuel costs have doubled in the last 18 months. Police have made some changes in vehicle use, like not leaving a car running if it can stay warm. Police need cars ready to go, however.
The new Impalas will need about $6,000 in equipment and should be in service at the start of next year.