The Pinecrest Police Department has added a new hybrid-power vehicle to its fleet of police cruisers in an experiment that could herald a new era of energy-efficient cars for the Village.
After studying the available options for alternative-powered police vehicles, Pinecrest Police Chief John Hohensee opted to try Ford and its new hybrid technology.
“We have recently acquired a 2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid,” said Chief Hohensee. “It has been fully marked and painted in our fleet green color. We are going to assign the Fusion to all of our officers on a rotating basis and our sergeants will be the first to evaluate and critique it.”
Hohensee said the decision to experiment with different technology was spurred by several reasons, including the fact that Ford will no longer produce the vaunted Crown Victoria, the car preferred by most police agencies for the last 25 years. He said the law enforcement Industry is anxiously awaiting a replacement vehicle.
“Ford is telling us that the Taurus will be their replacement police vehicle,” said Hohensee. “But I have inspected the Taurus Police Interceptor and I found it to be dramatically smaller than the Crown Victoria.”
He said that Village police decided to try the Ford Fusion because of the tested reliability of its hybrid-power, which basically combines an internal combustion engine and an electric motor to improve gas mileage.
“The hybrid technology has been around for a while,” Hohensee said, “and I think they have made them reliable to the point where this might be a costeffective experiment.”
Hohensee said the department paid $24,947 for the Fusion and about $6,000 for the installation of equipment such as a radio, onboard computer, emergency lights and a camera. He noted that the addition of the new vehicle was an experiment by the department, one that ultimately could lead to a more energy-efficient fleet of Village police patrol cars.
“We do have an interest in looking at vehicles that may be more ecologically friendly, vehicles that may reduce our total cost for maintenance and operating the vehicle, improving our fleet mileage and, in the process, be just a little greener for Mother Earth,” said Hohensee. “I will also say that there is a very good possibility that we may fail in this endeavour. The car is very small, the interior is quite tight and when you put an officer with a gunbelt on and all the equipment they carry into a vehicle that was not purpose built, there can be complications.”
Hohensee added that the Ford Fusion may not measure up to expectations.
“I will be very interested to see how the Fusion holds up under the rigors of law enforcement,” he said. “Law enforcement work is very strenuous on vehicles and we beat them up pretty badly. I want to see how the drive train and all the components hold up.”
However, Hohensee noted that the Village owns the Fusion hybrid and if they determine that it is not suited for police work, then it will be assigned to a specialty purpose.
“We own it and we’re going to use it,” he said.