The Springfield, Illinois, Police Department is purchasing dozens of new police vehicles to update its current fleet. Officers are currently forced to use old units due to supply chain issues, with the department's most recent order, placed in 2021, being canceled by the OEM. Now, the department is trying again, putting funding toward another purchase.
The city council approved the purchase of 30 Ford Police Interceptor Utility Hybrid vehicles to replace its order that was previously canceled, as well as an additional seven Ford Police Interceptor Utility (PIU) vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICE), from a local dealership. William McCarty, director of the Office of Budget & Management for Springfield, told Government Fleet that the seven additional ICE vehicles were immediately available, so the city opted to purchase them as well.
One of the documents submitted to the city council was a letter from Ford National Government Sales Manager Nate Oscarson, explaining the reasoning for the canceled order. In his letter, Oscarson explained that Ford would prioritize all 2022 model year vehicles that have been purchase order verified and re-submitted as a 2023 model year. Due to inflation, Oscarson further explained that Ford could not gaurantee price protection on unscheduled 2022 model year orders that were re-entered into the 2023 model year order bank. The ordinances for the purchases noted the need for extra funds due to the increased prices.
Standardizing and Cutting Emissions
Several years ago, the city began efforts to cut carbon emissions as an offshoot to its fleet consolidation project. It converted more than 80 vehicles -- mostly within the police fleet -- to propane autogas. Over time, city officials determined the propane technology was not evolving as quickly as they needed it to, with much of the industry headed toward hybrid and electric vehicles, according to McCarty. The hybrid vehicles also proved more efficient when comparing fuel comsumption reduction from idling the patrol vehicles often do. The city is now working to swap its propane vehicles to hybrid ones.
City officials have chosen to standardize the police fleet, with the Ford PIU as its chosen patrol vehicle.
Currently, the police department has 250 vehicles, including non-patrol vehicles. Of those, 28 vehicles are hybrids, with the additional 30 ordered that were mentioned above. The department still has 13 active Ford Crown Victoria police vehicles in use, with the oldest being from 2008. Some of the Crown Vics have more than 200,000 rolling miles on them. Had the city's 2021 order not been canceled, it would not have any of these models still on the street.