Propane New Tool in Police Fight Against Crime

Oktibbeha County Sheriff's Office chief deputy George Carrithers, left, and Sheriff Dolph Bryan refill their patrol car's new propane system. Fourteen of the police department's patrol vehicles have been converted to run on propane autogas. (image: cdispatch.com)

Mississippi criminals trying to outrun the long arm of the law now have propane to contend with after a local police department switched to LPG-powered patrol vehicles.

Oktibbeha County Sheriff Dolph Bryan admits he has become a propane convert, Leadercall.com reported.

“That gas is hot! I can’t believe how good these cars run on it and I’m hard to please.”

Backed with a $100,000 federal stimulus grant from the Mississippi Department of Transportation, county police have converted 14 of their 26 vehicles to run on clean-burning propane autogas.

“I’m a car nut and I’m not kicking gasoline, but that car runs better on propane than 87-octane gasoline — I’m tickled to death by it,” Sheriff Bryan said. “When I first drove one, I felt that punch. I asked how many I could get after that drive.”

The sheriff said the patrol vehicles’ coverage range had nearly doubled to 600 miles on a full tank thanks to the propane switch. The department stood to make significant savings on gasoline costs as well emitting fewer harmful carbon and particulate emissions into the environment.

I’ll put it this way: Since we converted my car, I’ve only filled it up three times. Every time I’ve filled up is because I was at half a tank, and that’s our rule.

The vehicles still use gasoline to start up but switch to propane autogas once they’ve warmed up, cdispatch.com reported. Each vehicle conversion costs about $6000 but that money will quickly be recouped given the soaring costs of gasoline. The police department is also in line for a 50 cent per gallon propane subsidy, making the alternative fuel even more cost effective.

Propane is the third most popular vehicle fuel behind gasoline and diesel. But it is considerably cheaper and much cleaner burning. About 15 million propane vehicles operate worldwide.

The Oktibbeha County police have set up a temporary propane refueling station outside the station while a permanent one is built. Sheriff Bryan said he was so taken with propane he was considering converting his wife’s Lincoln.

Starkville chief administrative officer Lynn Spruill said the propane conversion project was part of the city’s ongoing sustainability effort.

“We’re obviously delighted to continue our efforts in regards to all things environmentally friendly,” Spruill said. “I would like to see this expanded to other vehicles.”

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