Portage police buy three new vehicles, aim for more fuel efficient fleet

March 26, 2019

The Portage Police Department recently purchased three newer, more durable and fuel-efficient vehicles in an effort to reduce maintenance costs and its carbon footprint.

The department paid a total of $99,277 for three electric and gas hybrid 2020 Ford Interceptors — one to serve as a marked squad car for school resource officer Pete Warning and two other SUV models to become unmarked vehicles for the detective division.

“I’m excited about the new vehicle, and I think it’s going to perform very well,” Portage Assistant Police Chief Keith Klafke said.

The 2020 Ford Interceptor will consume less gasoline, produce less emissions, burn up fewer batteries and require less frequent repairs than some previous vehicles.

“Portage PD is going green,” Klafke said.

The 2020 Ford Interceptor will get about 24 miles per gallon instead of 17 mpg the SUV model it is replacing gets, according to a Ford brochure provided to the Daily Register.

Fewer gallons consumed could add up to thousands of dollars in savings for the department

Using SUV models in general is more efficient and provides more storage space than previous sedan fleets, Klafke said.

Police vehicles run 24/7 as officers share usage between night and day shifts. Because of the high demand and usage, the squad cars have scheduled maintenance about once a month.

The two mechanics who maintain and repair all city-owned vehicles, Cory Miller and Keith Hall, work closely with Klafke to get updates on each squad car and determine necessary repairs.

Miller said most Ford vehicles’ transmission systems tend to have better functioning mechanisms, and the models have less tire wear than other vehicles.

Police squad cars are constantly applying brakes and accelerating, which shows in the shop that they’re used more than typical civilian vehicles.

Hall said police vehicles might last longer if they don’t need to be repaired as often.

Klafke said prior SUV models lasted an average of three to four years, but he hopes the new vehicles will hold up for five to eight years.

Klafke said the new vehicles will arrive in Portage in about 24 weeks, after they are assembled in a Ford plant and shipped here.

“They’re just a little bit more robust,” Klafke said. “We need to have vehicles in great working order to make sure we’re responding to the needs of the community.”