Palm Bay Police Chief bans patrol cars from idling

High fuel prices have surely altered most consumer's driving habits. The gas crunch has gotten bad enough that even police units have found it necessary to change their routines. For instance, in Palm Bay, Florida, Police Chief William Berger has banned officers from allowing their patrol cars to idle. The only circumstances where idling a police vehicle is permissible is when an animal or prisoner is left inside the vehicle. Turning off the vehicle sometimes requires on-board computers to be rebooted and, of course, raises the internal temperature of the vehicle since the air conditioner is no longer running. Other agencies have been forced to park their motorcycle units, which could potentially lead to a lower level of service from the police force. According to spokesman Lt. Andrew Walters of the Brevard County Sheriff's Office, "Our motorcycle unit... will stay intact. It's an integral part of our service, as the No. 1 complaint to the sheriff's office is traffic-related."
One easy way to reduce fuel consumption is to choose a more efficient vehicle, and that's exactly what some agencies have done. "Our fuel usage is actually less than what it was last year because we changed from Crown Victorias to Chevy Impalas. The Impalas get much better mileage," Cocoa's Acting Police Chief Mark Klayman says. The Impala is a front-wheel-drive unibody design which uses a V6 engine while the Crown Vic is a traditional rear-wheel-drive, body on frame vehicle powered by a V8. Seems like switching to the Impala would be an easy choice as opposed to laying off officers or reducing motorcycle units.

[Source: Florida Today via CarScoop]

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