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Published on June 18, 2024
Tampa Police Department to Pilot Electric Patrol Units in Drive for SustainabilitySource: Google Street View

The City of Tampa is on track to greener streets in the law enforcement sector with the Tampa Police Department set to test out electric patrol units. A federal grant of nearly one million dollars has been awarded to fund the shift, with the potential introduction of up to 13 electric vehicles to the fleet. This injection of funding, crucial for this environmental pivot, comes courtesy of U.S. Representative Kathy Castor.

In a move to gradually cut down on emissions and fuel costs, Tampa police, who log an impressive 4.5 million miles annually, are about to adapt their operations to be more eco-friendly. The department spends upwards of $3 million a year on fuel alone, but with this initiative, it aims to significantly reduce its carbon footprint. "This initiative is just one of many we are excited and proud to implement in our city as we move toward a more sustainable future," Mayor Jane Castor was quoted in a statement obtained by Tampa government's news release. Electric vehicles, which are nonexistent in Tampa's public safety divisions, are seen as a key next step to addressing the 7,500 metric tons of carbon emissions the divisions produce every year.

Relative to City of Tampa's total fleet, alternative fuel vehicles currently make up 13.4%. The Tampa Police Department's introduction of electric vehicles is a part of an expansive goal for a more sustainable city infrastructure. Although Tampa Fire Rescue has yet to introduce energy-efficient models, other city departments have already started integrating electric and hybrid vehicles.

Tampa Police Chief Lee Bercaw expressed gratitude for the support from elected officials and highlighted the dual benefit of the plan: "We are thankful for the support of elected officials, like U.S. Representative Kathy Castor, who work with the Tampa Police Department to find ways of enhancing public safety through improved technology and equipment," Chief Bercaw told the Tampa government's news release. The coming weeks will be a period of research and decision-making for the department as it evaluates which makes and models will best meet its rigorous demands. Although the delivery date for the electric units is not yet set, the City is eagerly anticipating the arrival of these new and more environmentally-friendly patrol units.

Tampa-Science, Tech & Medicine