For cruisers, space, not speed, is more important to Barrington police

Police chief responds to Tesla police cruiser proposal

By Josh Bickford
Posted 4/22/21

Barrington Police Chief Dino DeCrescenzo said a resident’s proposal to convert the fleet of police vehicles to Tesla electric cars is bit out-dated.

The proposal, created by Magnus Thorsson, …

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For cruisers, space, not speed, is more important to Barrington police

Police chief responds to Tesla police cruiser proposal

Posted

Barrington Police Chief Dino DeCrescenzo said a resident’s proposal to convert the fleet of police vehicles to Tesla electric cars is bit out-dated.

The proposal, created by Magnus Thorsson, offered a comparison of the Tesla Model Y electric vehicle to a gas-powered police-package Ford Interceptor.

But the Barrington Police Department fleet almost exclusively features Ford Explorer sports utility vehicles not Interceptors, Chief DeCrescenzo said. The chief said that there is one Interceptor sedan left in the local department, but it is typically used for traffic details and not regular patrol.

Mr. Thorsson’s proposal offered a cost comparison and vehicle performance comparison — it argued that the Tesla would save the police department money while providing faster 0-to-60 times. Mr. Thorsson said the Tesla accelerates 0 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds, while the Interceptor does it in 6.9 seconds.

That may be the case, said Chief DeCrescenzo, but Barrington Police no longer use the Interceptors and vehicle speed is not a primary concern for the police department. The chief said Barrington Police rarely engage in high-speed pursuits and he feels there are other vehicle features more important to the officers than a 0-to-60 time. Chief DeCrescenzo said the space inside a vehicle’s driver compartment is more important, and the department’s Ford Explorers are a good fit for officers. 

The chief said a more appropriate comparison would be for a Tesla SUV to the department’s Ford Explorers. 

It was about a year ago when Mr. Thorsson first pitched town officials on the idea of replacing Barrington Police cruisers with Teslas. Mr. Thorsson, who drives a Tesla, had previously lived in Vermont and had served as a town council member there. He rolled out the idea to the police chief in that town and built an argument as to why it made sense.

When he moved to Barrington he decided to offer the proposal to officials here. 

Mr. Thorsson said the Tesla has the highest safety ratings, and is well-equipped for police detail work. He said that while gas-powered vehicles’ engines must idle to run the on-board computers, Teslas’ battery packs can run on-board computers while not churning out emissions. 

Chief DeCrescenzo said it may be a better idea to begin replacing other municipal department vehicles before switching police cruisers. He said he would be more inclined to use hybrid vehicles for police cruisers.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.