The City of Michigan City through South Shore Clean Cities received a generous donation from the “THINK” Electric Car Company of two Electric cars for our use. These cars were originally sent to Central Maintenance to be used by city personnel in their normal course of duties.
In January of 2012, I began to inquire about the cars and their possible use. I thought the uniqueness of the cars and the fact that they were 100% “GREEN” led me to the possible creation of a new Public Relations tool for the police Department.
This is when I came up with the concept of turning one of these vehicles into a fully marked Michigan City Police Unit bearing all insignias, police graphics, lights, siren, and radios. This idea turned into a huge hit and was welcomed by both Mayor Meer and Chief Mark Swistek.
Through community involvement I was able to solicit local companies in helping me make this concept a reality. I had an overwhelming response as I drove the car to various businesses as everyone I approached immediately jumped on board and supported this only one of its kind project.
Reprographic Arts of Michigan City along with Brett Maniscalco, designed, created and installed all of the police graphics. Jerry Bailey installed of all the lights, siren, radio, and police equipment. Generous donations were made by the following individuals and companies:
- McDonald’s Restaurants of LaPorte County
- APEX Muffler and Brakes
- LKQ Great Lakes of Michigan City
- Great Deals On Wheels
- Councilman Ron Hamilton
- Reprographic Arts
- Tint Masters
- Batteries Plus of Michigan City
The maiden voyage and introduction of the new “Green Police Car” was in the 2012 Michigan City Parade. There we had an overwhelming response to the new vehicle and it was applauded for the creativity and design.
From there we went on to the LaPorte County Fair where we had people gathering around the car just to get a look inside. Everyone was in amazement at the size of the car and that it had been fitted with controlled warning lights, LED light bar and LED identification lights along with a siren, PA and police Radio.
I drive this vehicle regularly throughout Michigan City and everywhere go I am stopped and asked about the car. I receive waves, smiles, pictures and requests for tours all the time. Mainly I am asked how a 6’6” guy can fit inside to how fast it goes, how does it charge and how long can I drive. I give tours to the children and let them experience the “Driver’s Seat” and of course turn on the lights and siren. Children and adults of all ages just fall in love with this new type of police unit. I also volunteer with the Meals on Wheels program and use the car for this purpose.
To answer the questions the car is just a two- seater and there is ample room in the driver’s compartment. The vehicle is factory equipped with air, tilt, power windows, stereo, power mirrors and an automatic transmission. The vehicle is 100% electric with no gas backup as in other Smart Cars and is fully charged in an eight hour period. The vehicle runs approx. 100 miles on a full charge depending on how many accessories are used. The top speed is 70 miles an hour and has an “Ecomomy mode” for better mileage. The original cost of the vehicle was approx. $37,000.00 and made by Think City in Elkhart, Indiana. The car can be charged on a normal household outlet. Due to the “extras” of the lights and accessories an additional marine battery was supplied by Batteries Plus where it runs all of the equipment separately.
Mayor Meer, Chief Swistek and I are all committed toward furthering community partnerships and response by the citizens and businesses in all of our projects has been remarkable.
I believe that this is a very unique concept and the only fully marked “Green” police Unit in the country. My hopes are that it will not only gain attention locally but that it gets State and National attention as I plan on showing it off to promote this newest addition to our fleet!