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Mich. Sheriff Considering Chevy Volt for Patrol

The agency picked up the electric vehicle for a deep discount and added police equipment.

June 14, 2013  |  by Thi Dao

Photo courtesy of WCSO.
Photo courtesy of WCSO.
To help reduce the carbon emissions of county fleet vehicles, the Washtenaw County (Mich.) Sheriff's Office purchased an electric Chevy Volt to convert for patrol duty.

Deputies will use the vehicle for patrol in a non-urban area, and a school resource officer will use it when providing security to a school, Bob Mossing, the county's fleet manager, told Government Fleet magazine.

"We've been trying to green our fleet for a long time, but the problem is the majority of vehicles in the fleet that create the largest carbon footprint are police vehicles," Mossing said. "We have done a good job of putting vehicles on the road that get better mileage, but we still use a lot of gas. We still drive a lot of miles. This is an opportunity to see what the Volt can do for us."

Deputies have begun driving the vehicle in a county that contains Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan, and will provide feedback before it gets fitted with emergency equipment. Mossing said he doesn't want to "jeopardize deputy safety" by rushing it into service.

"We're testing new-vehicle technology and new equipment on the vehicle," he added. "Instead of putting a large laptop in the vehicle, we're going to put an iPad in there. The iPad will connect through 4G connectivity and the virtual network to get into all the police software they need."

Mossing said the sheriff's office is considering the Volt to replace its Ford Crown Victoria sedans and Chevrolet Tahoe SUVs. The sheriff's office purchased the Volt from a local dealer for about half the price of a new vehicle, because it has 50,000 miles on it.

Photo courtesy of WCSO.
Photo courtesy of WCSO.
The Washtenaw County SO upfitters will add police equipment despite the vehicle's space constraints. Mossing said he expects the vehicle to be ready for service in about two weeks.

"We're going to provide equipment and work around the limited space we have," Mossing said. In addition to the iPad, upfitters will install a customized cage and a hand-held light and siren controller instead of a console-mounted one. It will also get radios and in-car video equipment.

Test drives are already underway, and deputies have reported getting about 60 miles on the battery alone. With no charging stations available yet, deputies are charging the vehicle, which takes more than eight hours, during the night shift on a 110-volt outlet.

Mossing said he hopes to work closer with General Motors to provide a more upfit-ready version of the vehicle that arrives with fewer civilian items and more room for police equipment.

Thi Dao is the managing editor of Government Fleet magazine.

Tags: Electric Vehicles, Chevrolet, General Motors, Alternative Patrol Vehicles, michigan


Comments (12)

Displaying 1 - 12 of 12

Troop @ 6/15/2013 2:27 AM

This guy can't be from the Midwest. He must have moved from California.

Carne Asada @ 6/19/2013 12:39 PM

Nice to see the priority is greening the fleet instead of providing effective equipment to the people whose lives are on the line. Clearly a political decision with zero input from the ground troops who will have to field the thing and do real police work instead of only personnel management. Would be a great car for a meter maid and/or administration people. Terrible cop car.

Trigger @ 6/20/2013 7:35 PM

Wow, reduce the carbon emissions of the county! Where do they think the electricity comes for the eight hour recharge, last I heard coal or nuclear

Rick @ 6/21/2013 8:34 AM

Climate change is like acid rain in the 80's ; it's not happening and the actual data proves it, but people are getting rich from selling the idea and their anti-climate change products.

Martyb @ 6/21/2013 4:38 PM

Oh wow... a whopping SIXTY miles of patrol on one eight hour charge. I get that amount of milage on 4 gallons of gas in my work truck. And that is at California "Highway Speeds"

How far and fast can it go in a pursuit???

walkintrails @ 6/21/2013 4:40 PM

How could the MSP testers have missed this little gem?

Capt. Crunch @ 6/21/2013 4:44 PM

Nice car, but not for police work.

Bob@Az. @ 6/21/2013 7:17 PM

One question: Dose it come with pedals?

Troop @ 6/22/2013 1:55 PM

This Sheriff must have moved from California.

ChiefJohn @ 6/24/2013 8:55 AM

Not a patrol vehicle. OK for School Officers who do not depend on a vehicle like a regular patrol officer. Can't wait to hear when someone forgets to charge it and a kid on a skateboard gets away as the officer is waiting for the gas engine to kick in.

Bob Mossing @ 7/2/2013 10:35 AM

Yikes! Less than positive comments (which is to be expected). I would like assure everyone that the Sheriff is from the Midwest (over 20 years with Washtenaw County) and I, the Business Manager and Fleet Manager, am from the Midwest as well. We realize the skepticism surrounding this car but to be clear, we are not jeopardizing deputy safety and realize we will not operate this vehicle entirely on batteries. It will be deployed as a School Resource Officer vehicle for 9 1/2 months out of the year which will save significant fuel costs during that time. The other 2 1/2 months it will be deployed as a fully functional patrol car. Keep in mind that Michigan fuel costs are extremely high and we are still facing significant budget challenges. I would hope most agencies would support new ideas to save general fund dollars that ensure we have funding to keep deputies on the road. This is just one test. We are also looking at propane conversions and we have replaced V8 models with powerful, more fuel efficient V6 engines. Not one bad guy has been able to get away and our deputies are safe. Be on the lookout for follow up articles and pictures/videos of the Volt. I will be the first to take this vehicle off the road and convert it to an administrative vehicle if does not perform or jeopardizes safety. The opportunity came up so we are looking into it.

ClarksonCote @ 2/4/2014 7:24 AM

Very cool. Volts would be especially good for any police duty where there is typically lots of idling, as the Volt would use the battery, or cycle the engine on and off as needed when the battery is depleted.

Overseas, they actually integrated a police database system into the center display screen. Would be a great idea to do that here too. See: http://green.autoblog.com/2012/02/14/vauxhall-ampera-amps-up-for-police-duty-at-scotland-yard/

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