Palm Beach, Fla., PD Adds Hybrid Police Vehicles, Drones

The department bought two new hybrid utility vehicles at a cost of $45,000 each. The hybrid patrol vehicles get better gas mileage — 24 per gallon compared with about 17 per gallon for current vehicles.

(TNS) — The off season may be a time when life quiets down in Palm Beach. But for the Palm Beach, Fla., Police Department, the past few months have been busy.

In keeping with the town's Green Initiative, the department bought two new hybrid Ford Police Interceptor utility vehicles at a cost of $45,000 each. According to Police Chief Nicholas Caristo, the hybrid patrol vehicles get better gas mileage — 24 per gallon compared with about 17 per gallon for the department's current Ford Interceptors and Chevy Impalas, and provide better traction during rainstorms.

The town will be the only police department besides Boynton Beach to use these hybrid police cars, Caristo said. Something that could be considered a downside, he said, is the high cost of the hybrid Interceptor's lithium battery, which costs about $6,200 to replace.

Caristo said there is no data on how long the batteries are supposed to last, but that "the town has purchased the extended warranty in hopes that it will offset any unencumbered costs."

New drones

In September, the police department revealed plans to add two drones in a move to expand its crime-fighting ability.

Caristo told the Public Safety Committee, that the technology would make patrolling the town more efficient, especially at night.

Caristo said the department already has a Mavic Pro drone, which is equipped with a 4K video system and an HD camera that has the ability to zoom-in and record in daylight.

The department will purchase a specialized DJI Enterprise Dual drone, which has a camera lens system that includes FLIR/infrared capabilities to search for people in the dark, spotlights and a loudspeaker to hail people in the surrounding area.

The new drone comes at a cost of $4,500, Caristo said.

Caristo also mentioned that in addition to helping officers do their job, the drones will prove valuable in helping the Palm Beach Fire-Rescue Department find hot spots in a burning building.

©2019 The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, Fla.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.