Many agencies have to do more with less money. With the recent jump in gasoline prices it will be even harder to live within their already restricted budgets. I read recently that the largest expense of a patrol car is no longer the price of the car; it is the price of the fuel used over the life of the vehicle. This is the first time ever that operating expenses have been so high for vehicles in the
What can individual officers do to reduce their fuel expenses to help their agencies to save money? Don’t drive the car hard unless you need to in order to get to a call or participate in a pursuit. Quick starts and constant acceleration are not necessary for routine patrol. Don’t leave the car running unless you need to keep it running. When you leave the car, turn the motor off unless you have a legitimate reason to keep it on. Frozen temperatures and the difficulty of getting the car to start or the need to keep the car warm are legitimate. Simply leaving it on because you can is not a good reason to keep the motor running. Turn the motor off if you are going to sit for a few minutes and the weather is mild. Certainly if you need the A/C or heater, keep the motor on, but turn it off if you don’t expect to race off and catch a speeder.
Park the patrol car and get out and walk. Schools, parks, and business districts are excellent places to walk around. It gives you a chance to see better what’s going on and even sneak up on crooks who are looking for a patrol car, not an officer on foot. At schools you can park in front when the kids are coming and going to monitor the traffic and keep the pedestrians safe. At parks, check the rest rooms, trash bins and playgrounds. In business districts, stop in the shops and say hello, shop owners like to see the police on foot patrol. Save fuel, save your agency money, that’s what the SGT Says.