System saves thousands by stopping idling police cars
Energy Xtreme’s product could help environment and taxpayers’ wallets
You drive by a police car on the highway. While you may think twice about the speed you’re going, chances are you’re not thinking about the idling system in the police car.
“If you have to constantly turn your car off and turn off your system, you have to log back on,” Pottstown Police Chief Richard Drumheller said. “Sometimes it’s just easier (to keep the system running).”
Police cars run continuously to keep their systems ready at all times. This can be from prolonged periods on the highway, to waiting at a crime scene, or simply when officers are in the office, waiting for a call into action. They do this to keep their computers, video cameras, and much more running. If the car holds Narcan, it also needs to stay running to keep up a certain temperature.
“We have these things called computer data terminal (CDT),” said Limerick Police Detective Ernie Morris, adding that these systems get “so hot and taxing” that they would drain the battery of the cars if the engine was not running.
Other than tires, batteries are the second most replaced piece of a police car, according to West Pottsgrove Police Chief Matt Stofflet.
The problem, though, comes when you think of the effect this has on the environment and tax payers’ money for gas expenses — not to mention fueling prices are hovering above $3 now.
But, luckily, there is a solution. Stealth Power, a vehicle customizing company, made a system that can cut down on financial expenses, pollution in the air, and wear and tear to the cars’ engines.
Their product, The Stealth Power Law Enforcement Series, is basically a battery pack that is designed specifically to fit into a police cruiser’s trunk. It offers remote monitoring of the system, batteries and generator health.
“Anything’s possible to add,” said Stofflet, who mentioned the addition of cameras and computers recently to police vehicles.
And installation is easy. “It literally is a plug and place system,” said Shannon Sentell, COO of Stealth Power.
By being placed in the trunk of a police car, it takes up minimal space and can still power the entire electrical system. Meaning: lights, radio, laptop, and camera can be powered for up to four hours without the car running, which could prevent theft of the cars, according to Stofflet. It can withstand gunshots, and the system is non-combustible and non-hazardous.
The Stealth Power Law Enforcement Series even automatically recharges itself while the car is being driven. And if a police officer’s engine battery dies, The Stealth Power Law Enforcement Series can act as a power ignition.
According to Stealth Power, the developer of the idle reduction technology, for each hour an ambulance idles, it burns about 1.5 gallons of fuel and puts 35-50 miles’ worth of wear-and-tear on the engine. In the United States, mediumduty trucks use about 2.5 billion gallons, or 6.7 percent of their total consumption, of fuel just to idle. This just raises maintenance and fuel costs, and it is detrimental to the environment. The Independence Package minimizes carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and other greenhouse-gas emissions. They are recyclable and California Air Resources Board (CARB)-approved. In this sense, the system is cost and environmentally effective.
“We see ourselves as a bridge between the current technology and the future,” Sentell said.
But on top of all of this, The Stealth Power Law Enforcement Series has proven itself. The Dallas Police Department used the system for an average of 4.85 hours a day over a 30-day period, according to Tree Hugger. If a department worked the whole year, 365 days; spent $2.95 per gallon of gas, the national average at the time of writing; and burned a gallon of gas per hour per idling vehicle, which according to AAA is a “good rule of thumb” for idling cars: they would save about $14.31 a day in fuel costs, totaling $5,222.24 per year per vehicle.
“If it’s cost saving, I don’t see a problem with it,” Drumheller said.
The Dallas Police Department also eliminated about 72.75 pounds of carbon dioxide per vehicle each day.
“Any system that is beneficial to our police, to the environment, to our services, is a plus,” Stofflet said.
Interestingly enough, Pottstown police already have a similar system called a green battery, according to Drumheller. It’s an additional battery that charges while you drive. Though, it takes some hits especially in the winter when flashlights and other systems become more needed. And it isn’t always used by the police cars.
“We have some old cars and they simply don’t hand well with turning them off and turning them on, so we just let them on,” Drumheller said.
The Stealth Power Law Enforcement, though, would appear to work better than a green battery. However, all of this may still be taxing on smaller police departments.
“If it costs more money and there’s not a specific way to recuperate that money,” Morris said, “I don’t think people will use it...Most of the time it’s budget, budget, budget.”
Stofflet agreed too, saying that the West Pottsgrove Police does not currently have the budget for such a purchase, but that he “would say anything’s possible.”
Police cars often idle, harming the environment and using up money. A company is offering a solution.