The Marion County (Fla.) Sheriff's Office has received the first vehicle in an initial delivery of 36 new Ford Police Interceptor sedans equipped with 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engines. The sheriff's office stated it is receiving four to five new Police Interceptors each week and will have 60 to 70 new vehicles within a few months.

"Although this engine boasts 365 horsepower, it is estimated to provide at least a 20% increase in our current fuel mileage," said Judge Cochran, Marion County Sheriff's public information officer.

The sheriff stated this improved fuel economy over previous vehicles in the sheriff's office's fleet could result in an estimated savings of $500,000 per year once the entire fleet is upgraded to the new models. The county will be upfitting the new vehicles, adding radios, computers, graphics, and other equipment. One feature the Sheriff's Office noted in its release was that it's adding back-up sensors to the vehicles to prevent accidents while driving in reverse.

To pay for the vehicles, the County Commission earmarked $442,000 to replace patrol vehicles in FY 2009-10. In FY 2010-11, the sheriff received approval that all returned funds, $2.15 milion in the Municipal Service Taxing Unit budget and $702,515 in county-wide funds, be earmarked for replacement vehicles. The $442,000 went to pay for 14 Ford Police Interceptors and two Ford Police Interceptor Utility models. One of each vehicle type will be used for the sheriff's K-9 unit and the sheriff's office will test them to determine which best fits that fleet application.