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Salt Lake County goes green-er with new air quality campaign

 

 

SALT LAKE COUNTY — Salt Lake County officials announced a new campaign to improve air quality through a range of initiatives, including hybrid vehicles for police.

The Unified Police Department unveiled two new hybrid vehicles for officers. The 2020 Ford Police Interceptor is described as a first-in-kind police hybrid car.

Green vehicles for UPD

salt lake county air quality

This is one of the Unified Police Department’s new 2020 Ford Police Interceptors, a hybrid vehicle. Photo: Heather Kelly, KSL

UPD Fleet Manager Keith Larsen says this hybrid has a 75 mph rear-end crash rating compared to other police vehicles, which only have a 50 mph rear-end crash rating.  It gets an estimated 24 miles per gallon.

And, Larsen says, the Ford Interceptor only idles 20% of the time in a two-hour period.  That means the car’s emissions will be off 80% of the time, even with lights running and everything going inside.

The department also picked up some hybrid Toyota RAV4s, mostly for administrative use. However, detectives will also have access to the SUVs.

The department will initially add nine Ford Police Interceptors and four Toyota Rav4s.  So far seven of those vehicles are in use, with another six on the way.

Educating Salt Lake County about air quality

UPD Chief Jason Mazuran discussed the hazards of idling and smoking vehicles.  He says a big part of his officers’ duties will now include educating the public about how idling and smoking cars can impact air quality in Salt Lake County. Officers will hand out new flyers to people caught idling their cars for too long.

salt lake county air quality

Police will hand out a separate flyer for people with smoking tailpipes.

salt lake county air quality

Mazuran says officers don’t want to give people tickets as their first resort, but they are willing to do so if needed — especially if  owners illegally remove or modify the pollution control devices (catalytic converters) on their vehicles.  Removing the devices  results in clouds of black smoke emitting from the tailpipe.

More green initiatives

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson says she’s excited to see these new initiatives roll out.  She says air quality is one of her top priorities.

The Salt Lake County Health Department also plans to provide emissions inspections and testing free to low-income individuals.  The Vehicle Repair Assistance Program will also help repair qualifying vehicles for those who can’t afford to do so themselves.

“The Health Department’s efforts to help low-income individuals, keeps thousands of pounds of pollution from entering our watershed” are critical, Wilson said. “Salt Lake County is working on many fronts to be a part of the solution.”

Residents are encouraged to report polluting vehicles to the statewide hotline at 385-GOT-SMOG (468-7664) or go to utahsmokingvehicles.org.

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