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Toyota Camry Hybrid Police Car Upsets Status Quo

How did city managers, the chief of police and police officers react to using new Camry Hybrid cars for police vehicles?


When the city of Arkadelphia, Ark looked into getting ten Toyota Camry Hybrids to replace the no longer available Ford Crown Victoria police cars it had been using, reactions were initially strong against the car. Veteran officer Don Cleek said, “I was dead set against it. To me, a police car’s supposed to be rear wheel drive, V8 and can go through ditches.”

Over time, opinions changed. The Camry Hybrids are a lot cheaper to maintain according to city managers. The Crown Vic’s were costing the town about $2,500 per month to maintain. When the cost to operate the Crown Vics was compared to the cost to operate the ten Camry Hybrids, city accountants realized that every employee could get a 3% raise from the savings the Camry Hybrids provided. City Manager Billy Bolt said that was his “Aha” moment. Asked about the green aspects of the Carmy Hybrid, Bolt said “Green is popular, but is also has to be practical." Speaking about the practicality the new Camry Hybrid as a police car, Arkadelphia police officer Dickerson says “I know we use the car the same way…drive it hard as we need to drive it. Dickerson also points out that he needed to fill the Crown Vic twice per shift. The 27 MPG (City) Camry Hybrid only has to be filled once per shift. Due to the savings from the shift to hybrids, City Manager Bolt says that the town was able to increase patrol miles as well.

The Camry Hybrid’s ability to run on full electric was a pleasant surprise to Chief of Police Al Harris. Chief Harris says that the quiet operation of the Camry in all-electric mode is like a stealth mode and does, in fact, allow the car to have an advantage. Watch the video below to see what the officers say about the high-speed performance of the Camry Hybrid compared to the Crown Vic (time stamp 6:20).

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