It's not easy being green, at least when it comes to running a law enforcement agency.
There are so many things that can't change — like the amount of patrol territory in your jurisdiction, the types of offenses your officers confront on a daily basis and the legal written requirements that have to be filed in connection with every offense report, incident and case.
Without major changes in law enforcement service, overhauling the methods in which these services are delivered seem nearly impossible. Surprisingly, many chiefs and sheriffs are finding the means to bring environmental concerns to the forefront and apply them to law enforcement, even with their present constraints. It takes creative thinking, a commitment to improvement and a clear mind to sort through the hype and find what is cost-effective and what is simply the product of good public relations.Scoot on over
Conventional fuel-burning cars, hybrids, horses, foot patrol, bikes and flex-fuel — the New York Police Department has them all. And now the agency has added another transportation notch to its John Brown belts — NYPD is testing electric scooters.
If you're picturing the lightweight foldable scooters on which kids race through your neighborhood, or the "drunk-mobile" that the DUI offender uses to maneuver through traffic, fuggedaboutit. These babies combine street smarts with ecological soundness and make NYPD's finest also NYPD's smartest.
The four trial scooters look more like sleek motorcycles than scooters, and have a top speed of 60 mph with a corresponding range of 60 miles, making them a good bet for cruising the Big Apple's congested streets.
The all-electric vehicles are certified for both highway and road travel and, according to manufacturer, Vectrix, run silently and sport zero emissions. The scooters are recharged by plugging them into a regular outlet in two hours.
Police officials think the scooters will add both a tactical advantage, as well as contribute to the department's efforts to reduce its effect on the environment.
Although impractical for sheriff's departments or state highway patrols, which often drive many times the amount of miles a scooter lasts at speeds well surpassing 60 mph, electric scooters work well in crowded city traffic and can easily negotiate winding, narrow streets and back alleys.
At press time, the department is still evaluating the scooters, but other agencies have already incorporated alternative, environmentally friendly transportation into their fleets. And while a totally emission-free, cost-effective solution may not yet be a reality, there are other ways your agency can make a positive impact on the environment. All you have to do is look around.Building blocks for the future
If the term "solar photovoltaic system" (also known as PV) sounds like something out of Star Wars, then you need to take a trip to the Rocklin (California) Police Department.
When Rocklin PD, with a sworn force of about 57 officers and 30 support personnel, was in the market for a new facility, they opted for a complex that saved both electricity and was kind to the environment. It may sound like something Han Solo would use to get the Millennium Falcon out of a jam, but a PV system is really a way to reduce dependence on foreign oil and rein in high electric bills.
The 40,000-square-foot building was constructed in 2005 for $15 million. In addition to the police department, the building also houses a multi-purpose community room, an employee fitness center and an emergency command center.
The PV system provides a renewable energy source that's emission-free. Moreover, the complex houses a covered parking garage, which is also solar-powered. SPG Solar says the system's benefits are solid: