Hoboken, New Jersey’s police department is also looking to go greener, but has run into a roadblock. “They don’t make a hybrid car with a police package,” said Bill Bergin, Hoboken’s Public Safety Director, in Hoboken Now magazine. The highly urban setting of Hoboken requires its police cars to be equipped with a police package, which includes a stiffer suspension for high-speed maneuvers, and a larger battery to power more sophisticated equipment. Other large metropolitan areas may run in to the same dilemma.
The Aspen Police Department has been testing a Highlander Hybrid patrol car, as it considers a wholesale shift from of seven Volvo cruisers to hybrids. And Fargo, North Dakota has started making the hybrid switch, beginning at the top. Police Chief Keith Ternes now drives a city-owned Toyota Camry Hybrid. The change is also occurring with college campus police departments, which don’t need vehicles with the police package. Northern Illinois University is one of several schools patrolled by Toyota Priuses instead of Ford Crown Victorias.
Some police departments are even thinking beyond pavement for the use of hybrids. Baltimore, Maryland’s Marine and Harbor Patrol Unit is considering patrol boats with gas-electric hybrid powertrains. “Our boats burn through more fuel during a single patrol shift than a standard police cruiser,” said veteran marine officer Vincent Biondo, in an interview with Hybridcars.com. “A hybrid boat could cut consumption in half.”