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By Samuel R. Avro on Dec 23, 2008 with no responses

Salt Lake City PD Going ‘Green’ With New Hybrids

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Salt Lake City’s police force is going green, with new hybrid and electric scooters beginning the department’s changeover of their existing fleet.

The Salt Lake City Police Department has purchased five 2009 Toyota Camry 4-door sedan Hybrids in an effort to curb the rising fuel costs to the department.

It’s being touted as a necessary purchase in order to maintain costs and retain key personnel.

“I think it’s necessary, given the direction of the economy, as well as the budget challenges we have here in the city,” Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank said.

The new hybrids are rated at 33 miles per gallon in the city and 34 miles per gallon on the highway, as opposed to their current fleet of Chevy Impala cruisers which only get 23 miles per gallon in the city and 26 miles per gallon on the highway

With a changeover to their fleet the Salt Lake City PD has the potential to save a lot of money on gasoline. They currently spend roughly $1.5 million on gas alone.

The hybrids come at an additional cost of about $4,000 per vehicle, but they hope to recoup that amount in the long run.

The police department also unveiled a three-wheeled electric vehicle, similar to a Segway, that police officers will use to patrol city parks, parade routes and other public events.

The electric vehicles, which travel between 5 and 25 mph, operate at a cost of just 10 cents per day. The cost of each of the three-wheeled vehicles is just under $9,000.

The department hopes that all this will ultimately save jobs. “That’s really my interest,” Chief Burbank said.

Being that the hybrids were not originally built as police cruisers, it will take some getting used to.

They were built as passenger vehicles and then outfitted with lights, sirens and other needed options for a police car.

One worry was with the suspension of the vehicles, because they weigh more than a traditional hybrid after the added police equipment.

The police department said that they may order more fuel-efficient vehicles next year if the current ones prove to be a success.