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Why do the Wilmington and New Hanover police departments buy large gas-guzzler vehicles when smaller gas-efficient vehicles would do the same job and cost less?

Chris Mazzolini
StarNews

Both law enforcement agencies say they are working hard to outfit their vehicle fleets with more cars, trucks and vans that get better gas mileage and are more environmentally friendly.

The most visible law enforcement vehicles are Ford Crown Victorias. The 2006 police cruiser model gets 14 miles per gallon in the city and about 21 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA.

But the Wilmington Police Department and the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office use lots of other vehicles too, anything from a motorcycle to a large tactical van. Many of the “gas guzzling” vehicles are bought because they fit a specific purpose – such as tactical teams, K-9 units and Crime Scene Investigation.

Lucy Crockett, a WPD spokeswoman, said the department has added at least 10 hybrid vehciles to its fleet in the last few years and plans to add more in the future. The police department is participating in the city’s overall plan to reduce fuel consumption.

Crockett also said that while smaller, fuel efficient cars are used for admininstrative and “plainclothes” assignments.

Deputy Charles Smith, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, said that the office is looking at flex fuel and alternative fuel vehicles. This makes sense environmentally but also is a good way to save money during tough times, he said.

“We are constantly being faced with having to do more with less,” Smith said. “We are continuing to explore ways and ideas to cut back, and fuel is certainly a big ticket item.”

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2 Responses to “ Why do the Wilmington and New Hanover police departments buy large gas-guzzler vehicles when smaller gas-efficient vehicles would do the same job and cost less?”

  1. On August 23, 2009 at 8:20 am alexis wrote:

    from a more practical standpoint, police officers carry a lot of equipment: radio, handcuffs, mace, pistol, etc. Getting in/out of a compact car is difficult at best for a taller-than-normal individual. Add the equipment and it’s even more difficult.
    another reason is that officers are frequently in a vehicle for 6-10 hours at a stretch. Add that to driving in urban traffic and you have major contributor to fatigue, not to mention doing the same in a compact vehicle.
    The larger vehicle offers better/faster access and more comfort.

  2. On August 23, 2009 at 11:49 am amy wrote:

    Why does Oak Island and Southport police dept. allow the patrol cars to be taken home at the end of an officers shift. I know of several that drive over 20 miles to their homes in the patrol cars.It is not like we ever have an emergency that would require an officer to be needed so quickly ,that they need the car in their driveways.All we ever have is a hurricane and we can see that coming for days prior to needing the officer on duty.I feel it is a waste of money and we tax payers are flipping the bill for the gas.How can I get my boss to give me a car to take me to and from my office. Nice Perk! Big Waste.



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