Fuel Management

Washtenaw County Tests Patrol Vehicles, Anti-Idling Technology

June 07, 2012

Pictured is a Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office Impala with the new gray graphics. Photo courtesy of Washtenaw County.
Pictured is a Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office Impala with the new gray graphics. Photo courtesy of Washtenaw County.

ANN ARBOR, MI – The Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office is updating its police fleet with new vehicle testing, graphics, in-car technology, and fuel cost savings technology, according to Bob Mossing, fleet manager for the county and business manager for the Sheriff’s Office.

With the news of Ford’s discontinuation of the Crown Victoria, the Sheriff’s Office has been transitioning its fleet with the purchase of Chevrolet Tahoe PPVs over the past three years. However, while the Tahoe has been popular, “we will be testing three other vehicles this year: 2012 Chevrolet Caprice, 2013 Ford Interceptor, and 2013 Ford Interceptor SUV,” Mossing said.

According to Mossing, the rear-wheel drive Caprice the County is testing has similar interior space as the Crown Vic and handles very well, but initial acquisition cost is higher than the Tahoe. Additional evaluation will be necessary before determining if this will be the sedan of the future for the County. The County is also testing the all-wheel drive Interceptor sedan and SUV, and it’s considering the SUV as a replacement for the Tahoe.

“The Interceptor SUV gets slightly better MPG and has a lower acquisition cost than the Tahoe. With better MPG, this vehicle could prove to be more popular at auction than the Tahoe if fuel prices continue to increase, lowering total cost of ownership” Mossing said.

Additionally, the Sheriff’s Office is replacing its vehicle graphics from the previously used Michigan Sheriff’s Association graphics package.

“This new graphics package gives us the opportunity to brand the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office on our vehicles as well as provide space for our contracting municipalities on the rear quarter panel,” Mossing said.

Shown is one of the graphics options that will be used on Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office vehicles. Photo courtesy of Washtenaw County.
Shown is one of the graphics options that will be used on Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office vehicles. Photo courtesy of Washtenaw County.

Fully marked patrol cars will have an all-gray package. There will be a “subdued” package – dark gray on a black vehicle with no light bars – which will reflect white. Both packages have reflective capability.

Deputy feedback from a successful test of trunk-mounted modems and the rugged Dell laptop has led the Sheriff’s Office to retrofit the entire patrol fleet. The laptops will be permanently mounted which will reduce wear-and-tear on the laptops and docking stations, Mossing commented.

Lastly, the Sheriff’s Office is also testing out the Idle Right system in four patrol cars as a fuel cost-savings effort. The idle-reduction system allows emergency vehicles to be parked and turned off with emergency equipment left on. Once battery level reaches 10 amps, the vehicle automatically start to charge the battery and turns off again when the battery reaches a sufficient charge, Mossing explained. This minimizes engine idle time, hence decreasing fuel consumption.

A vehicle idling for four hours can use up to 8 gallons of gasoline, while the same vehicle with the Idle Right technology uses less than one-quarter of a gallon, Mossing said. Projecting a four-hour, on-scene occurrence of at least once per month per vehicle, with gasoline cost at $3.80, Mossing expects fuel savings with the technology could be as high as $21,557 for all 61 vehicles. Savings will be considerably higher as most vehicles will idle on-scene more than once per month.

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