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By Abbie Swanson
The Patriot Ledger
Posted Aug 02, 2008 @ 02:00 AM

In the interest of trying to save his town money, Selectman Butch Machado wants to know how much gas police cruisers use. Police Chief Robert Pomeroy couldn't say, but the question has moved Plymouth to consider a policy on allowing town vehicles to idle.
"I asked the police chief last winter how much gas the Crown Vics they drive get to the gallon," Machado said at a board meeting Tuesday. "But they didn't know, because they're always idling."
Plymouth has asked its energy consultant, Ridley & Associates, to take a shot at an answer.
Once the town receives the consultant's study in mid-September, the town will consider a policy setting guidelines on allowing town vehicles to remain idling.
"It's something all of us need to look at for environmental and economic reasons," said Assistant Town Manager Melissa Arrighi.
Arrighi said the town was proceeding with caution on the question. There's an argument to be made for public safety vehicles being allowed to idle even if other cars aren't, said Arrighi.
"They're waiting in their vehicles in inclement weather. They need to keep the car on in case they need to catch someone fast," she said.
Selectmen David Malaguti agreed. When the weather turns cold, from late-fall to early-spring, police officers have to stay in the car, he said. The same thing was true in the summer with the air conditioning.
In neighboring Kingston, the town's policy is not to allow cruisers to remain idling.
"We have a directive: We don't leave cars idling," said Lt. Thomas Kelley.
Ridley's study will also look at switching out some of the town's old Crown Vics for a more energy efficient fleet of Ford Focuses.
The town, which owns a few hundred vehicles, has tried other models, but none performed as well for the task.
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