GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Don’t expect to see any environmentally-friendly vehicles among the 29 new patrol units the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office will be purchasing. The Greensboro Police Department’s fleet additions won’t reduce carbon either.
Guilford County commissioners earlier this week approved $1.7 million to replace aging vehicles, but the department won’t be buying electric or hybrid vehicles in that replacement process, spokesperson Lori Poag said by email on Friday.
This same week, the Cary Police Department announced this week it is purchasing two Teslas.
Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order in 2018 that set a statewide goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from 2005 levels by 2025 and of increasing the use of electric vehicles.
And the White House’s plans to fight climate change include an accelerated adoption of electric vehicles, with a goal of no carbon emissions by 2050.
The sheriff’s office has 427 vehicles on the books, Poag said, and 380 of them are active. She said the other 47 are out of service for various reasons.
“Mostly from accidents (totaled), or the cost to fix would exceed what the vehicle is worth,” Poag said. “Some have extremely high mileage.”
She also said that “none of our vehicles are hybrid or electric. The county has some.”
Greensboro City Council recently authorized purchasing 20 police vehicles as part of a 5-year plan but did not mention electric vehicles.
“We have electric motorcycles that are used by our downtown patrol officers and an electric golf cart used mostly downtown,” spokesperson Ronald Glenn said in an email. “We don’t have any electric cars at this time, and I don’t believe we have any plans to buy and electric cars for our fleet at this time.”
Lot of wear and tear
Sheriff Danny Rogers told WGHP that when cruisers hit 125,000 miles, given the way they are used, they aren’t safe because of so much wear and tear.
“These vehicles have anywhere from 160,000 miles to 185,000 miles on them,” Rogers said. “Way too many miles for a patrol vehicle. We try to replace by 125,000.
“Patrol vehicles are run hard and a lot of hours. There is a lot of maintenance. By time you get to 100,000 it’s time to start looking and replacing.”
He said that the GSO’s new vehicles would cost between $25,000 and $30,000 and then $15,000 to $20,000 for equipment.
“Ford has a Hybrid Interceptor Utility, but we don’t have any plans to buy them,” Poag said. “They are much more expensive to operate.”
Some going electric
But one neighboring agency, the Cary Police Department, is buying two Teslas.
“Electric is our new standard,” Cary assistant town manager Danna Widmar told The News & Observer in Raleigh.
The paper said each Tesla would cost $48,990, with $15,250 to outfit them for service, and the town will purchase a charging station for $58,000. Officials said they estimates that fuel usage would save $4,000 per vehicle over five years.
Town officials have been showing off the new vehicle.
The Capitol Police in Raleigh recently purchased a Chevy Bolt, and a variety of police agencies nationally are purchasing and employing vehicles from a multiple manufacturers. Some agencies have run into problems.
Rogers said that getting the right vehicles has become more difficult because of supply shortages and piecemeal purchasing processes. He mentioned chips required to run some of the special equipment that were slow to arrive.
“We had to take bids on the vehicles,” Rogers told WGHP. “For the past month and half our fleet division has been working on receiving bids on vehicles throughout the country.”