Police department uses hybrids to sneak up on criminals, save cash

The Arkadelphia Police Department recently traded in ten of their aging Crown Victoria police cruisers for brand-new Toyota Camry Hybrids. The quieter engine will allow police officers to better sneak up on bad guys and throw off speeders looking for run-of-the-mill Crown Vics in their rearview mirrors. Of course, aside from from being quiet, the police department bought the hybrids to cut back on their fuel bills. Many on the force, however, had their doubts.

"I was dead set against it," said veteran officer Don Cleek. "[A] police car's supposed to be rear-wheel drive, V8, with a lot of room and can go through ditches." Officer Cleek does make a valid argument on the durability of the Crown Vic. The Camry Hybrid is untested in this regard.

Chief of Police Al Harris also had his doubts. Harris made the same assumptions about hybrids as his officers; green cars were too slow and small for day to day police work. Once his request for a Chevy Tahoe was nixed, Arkadelphia's city manager encouraged Harris to take a Camry Hybrid on a test drive. He was impressed. After adopting the Camry Hybrids, the force found that average fuel economy went up from 12 to 14 miles per gallon on the Crown Vic to about 27 mpg in the Camry Hybrid. In addition to the fuel savings, the lower maintenance costs of the Camry Hybrids helped save the city of Arkadelphia around three percent of their annual budget.

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