Last week, the Sag Harbor Village Police Department became the first department in Suffolk County to own the first-ever pursuit-rated hybrid police SUV — a new model by Ford that Sag Harbor Village Police Chief Austin J. McGuire said represents a move towards sustainability he expects most police departments will adopt in coming years.
Chief McGuire said other departments in Suffolk County, including the Quogue Village Police Department and the University Police Department at Stony Brook University, have also placed orders for the 2020 Police Interceptor Utility, a model that just became available to law enforcement this year.
“This is the wave of the future,” he said in an interview at village police headquarters on Tuesday. “It is better for the environment and moving forward we will be looking to replace all of our vehicles — outside of our Tahoe and the pick-up truck we have unless they begin to offer hybrid models — with hybrid vehicles.”
“It’s exciting, given the makeup of the village, because the hybrid employees regenerative braking, which means when you brake, it actually charges the lithium battery, so in a village like Sag Harbor, where you driving at a low rate of speed, with constant right and left turns, it should work out perfectly,” he said.
The cost of the Ford 2020 Police Interceptor Utility is $40,460 before the installation of necessary accessories like lights and computers, which are being installed on the Sag Harbor Police Department SUV this week in Ronkonkoma. Chief McGuire said purchasing a hybrid, as opposed to a traditional SUV, cost the village an additional $3,500, however, he added he expects the savings in fuel for that vehicle alone will exceed that increase in cost in the first year alone.
“And for a municipality like us, it’s the right direction to move in,” he said. “It might not work for every municipality, but it does for Sag Harbor.”
From a budget perspective, Chief McGuire said he expected he would replace the fleet of seven vehicles, including a Chief’s vehicle and Traffic Control Officer sedan, with hybrid models over the next five-to-six years. The TCO vehicle, which is a 2006 Ford Crown Victoria has 150,000 miles on it and will be replaced with a hybrid sedan in time for this summer season, he said.
On Wednesday, Mayor Kathleen Mulcahy said moving the village towards greener technologies like hybrid cars is important and that in general, where it is possible, Sag Harbor Village is trying to adopt more environmentally sensitive ways of doing business.
“The Municipal Building, fire department headquarters and ambulance barn are all trying to achieve a five-percent reduction in energy over the course of the year,” she said. “I think purchasing the hybrid vehicle is another great start. Installing electric vehicle charging stations on the Wharf is also going to be great. I hope one day we have electric vehicles in our own fleet that we can charge overnight on the Wharf. Every little thing we can do to make even a small difference counts.”