Porter County Sheriff’s Office receives new hybrid squad cars

Eleven new Ford Police Interceptor Hybrid SUVs joined the fleet.

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Partners gathered at the Porter County Sheriff’s Office Friday to celebrate the addition of 11 new hybrid squad cars to department’s the fleet. Pictured (l-r) are Kathy Luther of the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, Tom Navarre of Family Express, Carl Lisek of South Shore Clean Cities, Jennifer Richardson of the Indiana Office of Energy Development, Porter County Sheriff David Reynolds and Don Hadley of Lake Shore Motors.

BY THE NUMBERS

  • Eleven Ford Police Interceptor Hybrid SUVs
  • 38% less fuel use
  • 44,622 fewer gallons of gasoline per year
  • Greenhouse gas emissions reductions equal to removing 85 passenger vehicles from the road for one year.

VALPARAISO, INDIANA — The Porter County Sheriff’s Office on July 17, 2020, celebrated the addition of 11 new hybrid squad cars to its fleet.

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The Ford Police Interceptor Hybrid SUVs, acquired with the assistance of funds from the Indiana Office of Energy Development’s Indiana Rural Energy Innovation grant program, will reduce harmful emissions, save taxpayer dollars and increase investments in renewable, domestic fuels.

“The Porter County Sheriff’s Office has always taken pride in being proactive and progressive regarding public safety and the use of technology,” Sheriff David Reynolds said. “Going with the new hybrid Police Interceptor SUVs makes the Porter County Sheriff’s Office one of the first law enforcement agencies in the state of Indiana to adopt the technology and as sheriff, I am very proud of that.”

Law enforcement vehicles often idle during an officer’s shift. The hybrid squads, purchased from Lake Shore Motors in Burns Harbor, allow the onboard electrical equipment to be powered using the lithium-ion hybrid battery, shutting off the gasoline engine which then runs only intermittently to charge the battery.

The Sheriff’s Office will fuel the vehicles with E15 from Valparaiso-based Family Express to further reduce emissions from the gasoline engines. E15 is a renewable, domestic fuel containing 15% ethanol, which is produced in Indiana.

The new vehicles will save taxpayers annually in fuel costs by using 38% less fuel and saving 44,622 gallons of gasoline per year over traditional gasoline vehicles.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator, the savings equal the greenhouse gas emission reductions of removing 85 passenger vehicles from the road for one year.

“Last year, we spent approximately $200,000 for fuel,” Reynolds said. “A full fleet of hybrids will save almost $90,000 a year. These vehicles will provide better performance and efficiency than the gasoline-powered model without sacrificing operational capability. In addition to the gas savings, the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions was important in making the change.”

Porter County Sheriff David Reynolds

South Shore Clean Cities wrote the successful grant application and serves as project manager for the alternative fuel vehicle program.

“South Shore Clean Cities was thrilled to assist the Porter County Sheriff’s Department with this groundbreaking sustainable transportation project that helps improve air quality, save taxpayer dollars and support the local economy with locally-purchased vehicles and clean, domestic, Hoosier homegrown fuels,” South Shore Clean Cities Executive Director Carl Lisek said. “We hope these efforts encourage other law enforcement agencies to take similar action and applaud the Sheriff’s Department on its leadership in this project.”

The implementation of the new hybrid vehicles was assisted in part by a $30,000 grant from the Indiana Office of Energy Development’s (OED) Rural Energy Innovation Grant program, which supports the reduction of energy consumption and its cost to businesses and taxpayers.

The program funds support the increased use of alternative energy, transportation technologies and comprehensive energy planning while bolstering preparedness and resiliency in energy systems to strengthen and ensure rural growth for the future.

“OED congratulates the Porter County Sheriff’s Department efforts to transform their vehicle fleet to a more efficient, cost-effective and cleaner technology option,” Jennifer Richardson, executive director of the Indiana Office of Energy Development, said. “OED supported this endeavor because we believe it represents good fiscal stewardship and diversity within the energy landscape that preserves affordable, reliable and stable energy solutions for Hoosiers.”

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