Beep beep: Sheriff shifts gears-- 8 to 4 cylinders

news-hondaNew look of law enforcement: Hondas get more macho.

Sergeant T.D. Layman is 6'6" tall, so he's the man sent out for test drives when Sheriff Chip Harding decided to take a look at trimmer vehicles that got better gas mileage than the traditional cop car, the Ford Crown Victoria.

Now the Albemarle Sheriff's department owns three Honda Accords, and Sergeant Layman slides the seat back and pronounces the Accord "roomy" and "comparable" to the larger Crown Vic.

"Everybody who's ridden mine has said they love 'em," says Layman. "A few people said they wouldn't have the same horsepower as the Crown Vic, but agree once they've ridden in it that what it lacks in horsepower, it makes up for with lighter weight."

Sheriff Harding touts the lower price– $19,000 for the Accord compared to nearly $22K for the Crown Vic– and better gas mileage. measures the 2009 Honda at 24 miles per gallon in combined city/county driving while the '09 Crown Vic gets just 19.

For now, says Harding, the Hondas will be used for serving civil process and administrative tasks, but not for the primary mission of the sheriff's department: transporting prisoners.

And if the experiment with smaller, more fuel-efficient cars goes well, Harding doesn't object to buying more next year for transport.

"American law enforcement has got to get with it, says Harding. "The culture in police has always been macho."

Sheriff's deputies occasionally do overtime traffic enforcement after court is closed, and they had some concerns about using the Accords for that.

"I think the Honda is going to stay up with any vehicle," says Harding, noting that he's open to other vehicles, as long as the mileage is good.

So are the these things peppy enough for a high-speed chase?

"It's got to be extreme to get into a high-speed chase," says Harding. "Unless it's a serious felony offense, my agency doesn't do law enforcement unless it's on traffic details."

The new models also have a more contemporary look in their striping and emblems, the design of which, Harding says, didn't cost extra.

"Response has been positive so far," says Harding. "People like the way they look."

The Sheriff's Office is not the only law enforcement agency getting on the gas-efficiency bandwagon. The Charlottesville Police Department has three $28,000 Ford Escape hybrid SUVs, and another six on order, according to Captain Allen Kirby.

Albemarle Police just bought two Accords that are being used by detectives.

"They get 33 miles per gallon, and they look nice," says Chief John Miller, citing a highway mileage figure. His department already has been buying more fuel-efficient cars off the lot. "They're cheaper," says Miller.

His Accords will also steer clear of high-speed chases. "Oh no," says Miller. "They're prohibited from getting into pursuit. They don't have the police package," equipment such as rollbars and cages.

And the officers using them seem to have no problem forgoing the more macho Crown Vics.

"I think that image, as far as administrative and detectives, has gone by the wayside," notes Miller, conceding, however, that he has no plans to retire his 2000 model Crown Vic.

"It's the oldest one on the force," explains Miller. "It has 86,000 miles, and I will drive it until I retire. I love that car. It's comfortable."
Updated 10:30am August 24


If you pay close attention to local events, you will soon discover cop cars trump pedestrian rights. And as a pedestrian, the last thing you want to do is yell for them to "slow the f*** down!". They will jump out and arrest you! And if a pedestrian in a wheelchair takes too long to cross in a crosswalk, they will physically RUN OVER YOU!

(Couldn't help myself!!!! HaHaHaHaHa!!!!)

I saw car # 3 whiz right thru the crosswalk by McDnalds. The crosswalk had a pedestrian in it, and the lights were flashing. I had a trailer and managed to stop, but not the new #3 Honda he came right thru almost hitting the person. Do these new cars have brakes? Are they so cool you do not even need to follow the laws you enforce. SLOW DOWN COOL COPS!

Guess the coppers did the "cash for clunkers" thing. Yeah, it's good to see what appears to be some common sense. You buy the vehicle that's best for cost and maintenance. Not for the hot pursuit. Like the Cameros and Mustangs the state boys use because they think they're bad asses.

Jumanji, do you mean their big red Excursion? I saw their super gas guzzling Excursion this morning. Gawd, what a waste of fuel!!

Thats good for the "American" Auto industry, had to be kaines idea.

winer, Chips was at the meeting I speak of. I guess he was just an observer. It was a Question & Answer seminar put on for the City Sheriff candidates to present their campaign platform to the voters. There were three candidates present - Phillp Brown, James Brown, and Mike Baird. James Brown went on to win the Democratic nomination to run for City Sheriff.

Mr/Mrs/Miss boo!, please try to keep up. OK? I was renamed "Gasbag Self Ordained Expert" by one of my worshipers.

Mr/Mrs/Miss aha, the current "us vs them" attitude will not change in some cops simply because they might get a 4 cylinder fuel efficient car at whatever department. It will probably make their attitudes much worse if anything.

Maybe the Fire Chief will take notice and get out of his Ford Expedition with the satellite dish on the top. It looks like something Austin Powers would drive. Trade it in for the Mini.

It seems it was Sheriff Chip Harding's idea...didn't see the Governor mentioned anywhere in the article (and I'm sure he's got better things to do then pick out a couple of law enforcement vehicles for ONE of the ~135 municipalities in our Commonwealth).

ââ?¬Å?People like the way they look.”

Cop perception is a big thing. I'm sure the Crown Victoria was much to blame in regards to their Machismo attitudes. Thank god that's going to change.

Seems like Baird owes me a favor then! HaHaHaHaHaHa!!!

But, anyhow, opinions are like... well, you know the phrase. Everybody has one.

Here's one:

quote, "Voice of reality"

May 8th, 2009 at 9:49 am

Baird was a disaster at the Forum the other evening. If he had any experience you sure couldn’t detect it by speaking with him. During the Forum, he was more reactive than proactive, complained a lot about the Sheriff Dept workload. Definitely not as thoughtful or eloquent as the other candidates. I find it very telling that he was the choice of the Democratic Old Guard (the ââ?¬Å?bidness as usual” folks”Š). That’s all I need to know to run swiftly in the direction of either of the other candidates, who were both extremely impressive.

Somebody here is delusional, I wonder who that could be?

Appalled Bystander, yeah, they sure did. :)

- - - - - - - - - -

****, the Crown Victorias don't get anywhere near 19 mph combined city and highway driving. The police package, a/k/a P71, gets 10 mpg in the city under ideal conditions, maybe 8 mpg with the air conditioning on. It might get 15 or 16 on the highway. And again, that's under the best of conditions.

Add in idling at a traffic accident or special detail, with the air conditioning on, and you could call yourself lucky if you don't pull your city mpg average down to about 5 to 6 mpg.

For whatever reason, 4 cylinder and 6 cylinder cars have much more accurate gas mileage ratings on the MSRP sticker.

Well, I think going to a smaller vehicle is a marvelous idea, at least for the sheriffs dept. Delivery of court papers and transporting prisoners does not take gas guzzler.

That's it! He needs to tow his own auxiliary fuel tanker on the back of it.

winer, these particular Honda Accords are probably assembled and distributed by the Marysville, Ohio plant right here in the good ole USA. And they of course employ American workers.

plus your right the dnc.
GSOE, chip one one of the 4 at the meeting?

Gasbag Self Ordained Expert is SO "Sick of the Local Rambos." Same identical writing style and voice. And sure enough, any story where a cop or sheriff appears, so he too can be found. ;)

If you're trying to change your identity the trick is to change your writing style. Mix it up a little. You're not even trying, come on. ;D

I remember the candidate forum, Gasbag/Sick/Steve Shifflett! You made a complete ass of yourself there with your "question."

I didn't think it was possible for someone to make Mike Baird seem intelligent and well-spoken, but you pulled it off. Way to go, Skippy!

I'm absolutely certain that Chip Harding had NEVER had the opportunity to ever think about getting more efficient cars until that night. *sarcasm*

While I applaud an effort to move to more fuel efficient municipal vehicles, I'm not sure that the giant leap from 19 mpg to 24 mpg is quite so praiseworthy. Particularly when there are mid-size cars like Ford's Fusion hybrid on the market that can deliver 45 mpg and do all of the things the Honda can. As for sending one deputy out to pick out new cars that we have to pay for, isn't there something inherently wrong with that (not necessarily in this instance, but in general)? Maybe a family member works at a dealership? Maybe someone owns some stock in a manufacturer? Is that standard procedure?

regarding Steve's link, that was painful to read. They handed you your rear on a plate over in cvillenews didn't they? Owie! So you're Demopublican too?

Maybe it was Chip's idea, maybe it wasn't.

He was present at a City Democratic meeting when City Sheriff's candidate James Brown said he was going to look into more fuel efficient vehicles for the city deputies if elected to office in November.

I think he stole Jame Brown's idea!!! HaHaHaHa!!

City Sheriff's candidate James Brown actually came up with a good idea. The City Sheriff also doesn't need all the gas guzzling Crown Victorias and Explorers they currently have. Up to this point I guess it hasn't really mattered since they were spending taxpayer dollars. Spend, spend, spend.... they have a gas guzzling Ford Explorer just for the 2nd in command to get to and from work.

"Mr/Mrs/Miss boo!, please try to keep up. OK? I was renamed ââ?¬Å?Gasbag Self Ordained Expert” by one of my worshipers."

That's Miss boo! to you. :D I'm changing my handle to that in fact.

Sorry but I was out of the gossip loop.

I will try to keep up!

quote: "I will try to keep up!"

Thank You!