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EPD Responds to Patrol Cars Controversy

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EUGENE, Ore. — The Eugene Police Department is responding to criticism about a new fleet of patrol cars.

Some are angry the department would opt for an SUV that get
s a little more than 11 miles to the gallon, especially at a time gas prices are so high. But it’s not that simple.

The SUV that they use are not a normal SUV. It’s got a lap top, an in-car video system, radar and a printer. And to power all of those devices the energy has to come from somewhere.>

After EPD unveiled its new patrol SUVs, there was concern about what was under the hood.

Some people were upset with the vehicles’ gas mileages and claims the new fleet would actually save the department money down the road.

One viewer posted on Twitter, “So let’s spend just under $749,000 to save two miles per gallon.” But the city says you can’t compare an average car to a patrol car.

“They carry so much materials and equipment, which adds weight to the vehicle, as well as the electronics that are in the car force the operations to keep the vehicle idling more so than perhaps what an average commuter would,” said Tony Jobanek, City of Eugene Fleet Manager.

Jobanek says the current patrol cars: Crown Victorias get about eight miles per gallon, but if they were an average car, driven average ways with an average load and not all the equipment, they’d probably get twice the mileage.

“It’s not uncommon across the country though. In fact, it’s very common in police duty vehicles to have lower than the general consumer miles per gallon rating,” Jobanek said.

“What we have in the new cars is an in-car video system which consists of a monitor that hangs from the roof of the vehicle, and then control system that’s lower. We also have a mobile dispatch computer which has a screen and keyboard for report writing,” said Sgt. Angie San Miguel.

And the list goes on and on. That’s why the city says the suv’s are the most economical because they can actually fit all the equipment. And he says sit idling a lot of hours because if shut off, all that equipment drains the battery.

“We’ve installed a system called the idle right, which allows the officer to time out, and then the system detects when the battery is getting drained enough that the equipment will shut off, and then the system restarts the car on its own and it will idle until everything is charged back up,” San Miguel said.

As for where the money is coming from to pay for them, he says no extra funds are involved.

“It’s already budgeted for and planned for and we have a forecast of replacement that goes out ten years,” Jobanek said.

You can expect to see the new fleet on the road in November.

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