The Hazlet Police Department is going green with some of its patrol fleet, adding six new Ford Police Interceptor Utility patrol vehicles with hybrid powertrains.
The new SUVs are expected to significantly reduce fuel costs due to reduced engine idling time and increased fuel economy, when compared to conventional gasoline engines.
“Our officers have been very pleased with them so far and they have already noticed that they are fueling up less frequently,” said Hazlet Police Chief Ted Wittke.
The term “hybrid” refers to motor vehicles powered by an internal combustion engine and an electric motor, which uses energy stored in batteries.
The police department first started researching the new hybrid vehicles 18 months ago when the department’s head mechanic Frank Stavalo began searching for replacements for several 2012 sedans, with input from experienced police officer Lt. Chris Acevedo. After tests, the department recommended the Hazlet Township Committee purchase the hybrids. The police department took delivery of the vehicles two months ago.
During a typical shift, patrol officers need to keep their vehicles running constantly to power electronics and light, even when parked at road detail or traffic stops. Their vehicles are their mobile offices.
“This is really a move forward for cost savings and officer safety for Hazlet,” said head mechanic Frank Stavalo. “Dollar for dollar and safety-wise, it’s the best choice.” The Interceptor comes with standard, full-time Intelligent All Wheel Drive, a 3.3L V6 hybrid engine and a 10-speed transmission. The Police Interceptor can withstand a 76 mph rear crash
“Chief Wittke and the Hazlet Police department did an amazing job bringing in the first-ever, pursuit-rated, hybrid SUV,” said Hazlet Mayor Michael Glackin. “Not only is this an upgrade to the department’s vehicles, but it will be a cost savings from year one.”
Though the vehicles, purchased at $36,242 each cost roughly $3,200 more than an all-gas vehicle, the potential savings are projected to be about $3,509 a year. There are also other cost offsets anticipated, such as improved brake life.
Photo: Police Chief Ted Wittke and Township Committee members Michael Sachs and Scott Aagre stand beside one of the police department's new hybrid Ford Interceptors.