|Sam Spooner, Former Sebastopol Council member
Police chief Weaver with his Ford Escape hybrid.
Toyota Prius hybrid.
One Council Member makes a Difference for Sebastopol
Vehicles for the City of Sebastopol Police Department now include
two hybrids, thanks to the tenacity of former City Council member Sam
When the Police Department was considering the purchase of new vehicles
at the end of 2004, it initially selected the Crown Victoria, a common
choice for such vehicles. Unfortunately, Crown Victorias' mileage is very
low, so much so that it jeopardized Sebastopol's chance for achieving
the bold greenhouse gas reduction targets it set for its internal municipal
operations, 30% below 2000 levels by 2008.
Realizing this, Spooner embarked on a mission to research and advocate
for alternative vehicles. After several months of investigation and
deliberation, the Council decided to purchase two hybrids for the City,
a Toyota Prius and a Ford Escape. This result was a win for public safety,
the City's fiscal responsibility and its environmental responsibility,
Epilogue: After the Council made the decision to purchase the
hybrids, Police Chief Jeff Weaver prepared a letter that was sent to car
manufacturers by the Sebastopol City Council, as follows:
Chairman of the Board
Daimler-Chrysler Motor Company
Ford Motor Company
General Motors Company
Honda Motor Company
Toyota Motor Company
The City of Sebastopol requests that your firm build a more fuel-efficient
police vehicle. The City passed a resolution last year that set a target
of a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from municipal operations
year 2007. Achieving this goal requires that more efficient vehicles be
used in our vehicle fleet. After conducting an inventory, the City found
that a police patrol vehicle currently in use is one of the top five single
emissions sources for all city operations.
Our research indicates the most fuel-efficient standard police package
vehicle on the market gets only about 20 MPG. We find that this level
is inadequate to meet our emissions reduction goal. We also find that
we are not alone among municipalities in the United States that are seeking
better alternatives than what your firm offers today.
According to studies by the Union of Concerned Scientists the technological
means exist today to make an affordable non-hybrid vehicle that meets
all police patrol package specifications, and gets up to 40 MPG.
If your firm made a quality, fuel-efficient police patrol package vehicle,
there is no question that it would be incorporated into our purchasing
policy. We find that many other local governments share our concerns,
that a large, untapped market for this type of vehicle exists. It seems
that there is a healthy environment for manufacturers to compete for this
Therefore, we are directing our chief of police to share our concerns
with the chiefs of other municipalities in our state. We are advocating
the position that auto manufacturers need to produce a competitively priced,
fuel-efficient police patrol vehicle. We believe that the millions of
dollars of expenditures on police vehicles should be sufficient motivation
for a manufacturer to invest the effort to capture this market.
Our community is asking us to improve efficiency and reduce greenhouse
gas emissions in our municipal operations. We are asking you to work with
us to both satisfy this requirement and still provide safe, workable vehicles
for our police force.
Sebastopol City Council