POLICE Magazine

MAR 2019

Magazine for police and law enforcement

Issue link: https://policemag.epubxp.com/i/1088348

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You can go to https://www.ford.com/police-vehicles/police-in- terceptor/hybrid-utility/calculator/ for more information. e New York City Police Department has been running consumer hybrid cars and SUVs as patrol vehicles for almost 10 years. Deputy Commissioner Robert Martinez who commands the NYPD's vehicle fleet operations believes hybrid power- trains are well suited to law enforcement operations because of the amount of time patrol vehicles spend at idle. "Even out in the country, law enforcement vehicles spend as much or more time at idle than they ever do being driven on the highway," he says. Another way that hybrids save agen- cies money is that regenerative braking greatly reduces wear and tear on brake components. Martinez says the brake components on the NYPD's hybrid vehi- cle last the life of the vehicle. 1,800 Hybrids M artinez is probably the nation's most authoritative expert on the use of hybrids as law enforcement ve- hicles. Out of the approximately 20,000 vehicles in the NYPD's fleet, 1,800 are hybrids. And the department has been running hybrids for 10 years. It all started with taxi cabs, accord- ing to Martinez. He says he noticed that the city's taxi companies were replacing their Ford Crown Victorias with hybrids and had been doing so for a couple of years. So Martinez, who was then the department's director of fleet services, ordered 60 hybrid Nissan Altima sedans for the fleet. "I figured if they could hold up for years as New York City taxis, they could certainly do the job as NYPD patrol cars," he says. Of course those first hybrids acquired by the NYPD were not designed to be police cars, nor were they pursuit rated. e pursuit capability was not an issue, Martinez says, because the NYPD has a "no pursuit" policy. e Altimas not being designed as police cars was another matter. ey required some work. Martinez says his fleet maintenance crews had to replace the Nissan's seats with vinyl-covered seats and install the police equipment such as lights and sirens, which required additional wiring. In addition, Setina Manufacturing also made special prisoner cages that fit the NYPD's Altimas. Soon aer those first NYPD hybrid Altimas hit the street, Ford started making a hybrid sedan for the consumer market, the Fusion hybrid, that Martinez thought would be a better po- lice car than the Altima. "We started using hybrid Fusions both as marked and unmarked cars," he says. e NYPD's hybrid fleet grew from there. Martinez says he has acquired Toyota Priuses, hybrid Chevrolet Tahoes, and a wide variety of other hybrid vehicles for the department. He even says his success with the hybrid Fusion in the NYPD's fleet helped convince Ford that the time was right for true pur- suit-rated hybrid police vehicles. "I started some dialog with Ford's engineers about the benefits of the hybrid as a patrol car. 'It can do the job, and it can do it well,'" he says he told them. at discussion has now come full circle as Martinez is ac- quiring Ford's new pursuit-capable hy- brid vehicles for the NYPD fleet. He's even driving a 2019 Police Responder hybrid (based on the Fusion hybrid) se- dan that Ford has loaned to the depart- ment. "We brought it down to our test track and training facility where one of the trainers drove it and came back with great results," he says. e NYPD is now buying 160 of the new Police Responder hybrid sedans, and Martinez says he is very excited about the 2020 PI Utility hybrid with AWD. "We get a lot of bad weather here in New York City," he says. "We had Super Storm Sandy, big snowstorms, ice storms, flooding. Years ago during snowstorms I had to open our main- tenance shops and call in crews to put chains on the vehicles. Now with all- wheel drive SUVs, I no longer have to do that. e vehicles can handle the weath- er without chains." Even though consumer vehicles might be a little cheaper to buy than pursuit-capable patrol vehicles, Marti- nez has no plans to continue the practice of buying retail hybrids and customizing them into police vehicles. "I haven't real- ly done a price comparison," he says. "ese task-built vehicles meet our mission better because they were designed to do so." He points out that purpose-built patrol vehicles already have the wiring for police equipment, vinyl seats, cages, and even their computers are "tweaked for police driving." e NYPD has 13 fleet shops and 400 employees and it is fully capable of upfitting the new hybrids it has ordered from Ford. But Martinez says it's the department's practice to have its vehicle delivered ready for duty. "We have the upfitter do everything, including the lights, and the markings," he says. Martinez foresees an NYPD fleet that becomes more and more hybrid and electric in the coming decade. Asked how the officers who use the vehicles feel about that, he tells the follow- ing story: "Shortly aer we introduced hybrid patrol cars about 10 years ago, the Mayor's Office had staff go out and ask the officers driving them what they thought about driving hybrids. ey did not know they were driving hybrids. And that's the way it should be, the hybrid vehicle should perform the same or better than the gas patrol vehicle." n 18 | SP E C I A L R E P O RT | U PF I T T I NG & F L E E T M A N AG E M E N T Ford's 2020 Police Interceptor Utility hybrid is the nation's first pursuit-rated hybrid SUV. The 2020 Police Interceptor Utility hybrid comes standard with all-wheel drive and is suited to urban and rural patrol. READY FOR PATROL PHOTOS: FORD

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