Next week, I will be asking council for permission to use contraband forfeiture funds to purchase a new police car. This police car will be different from anything we have ever put in the fleet before--it's a Ford Fusion Hybrid.
You may be used to seeing Dodge Chargers and Ford Crown Victorias on the streets, as that's what we have been using for many years. These cars are necessary for the majority of police operations because they are among the few that meet the demanding specifications required for pursuit driving. However, we do have some officers working assignments where pursuits are very unlikely. School resource officers, for example, spend much of their time on campus, and their driving is limited to primarily non-emergency functions. That said, they still need real police cars because they are often called upon for traffic control (and those red & blue lights parked on campus make a pretty good deterrent).
Because the city is trying to meet standards for certification by the Florida Green Building Coalition, I thought we could do our part by putting a hybrid car into operation. With its four-door, midsize chassis and 41mpg city EPA rating, the Fusion seems like it will offer the best combination of efficiency and functionality. Making it an even better deal, we plan to pay for the $27,000 vehicle using funds from contraband forfeitures. In FY 09/10, the police department's proceeds from participation in the Pinellas County narcotic drug task force were nearly $28,000. This is in addition to seizures obtained through all other operations.
If all goes well, expect to see the Fusion Hybrid police car at Boca Ciega High School around the beginning of the year.
Here is a picture from leftlanenews.com depicting Ford Fusion Hybrids from NYPD, where they have a test fleet of over 100.