Beyond the Badge: Get a firsthand look at North Judson PD’s new Tesla

Beyond the Badge: Get a firsthand look at North Judson PD’s new Tesla

NORTH JUDSON, Ind. --- This week on Beyond the Badge, we’re heading to North Judson PD to get a firsthand look at their newest squad car—a Tesla. It’s one of the first departments in the state to get a Tesla and the first in Michiana.

Chief Kelly Fisher said it’s more than the fancy features—it’s going to be a huge money saver for the town.

“I’m glad that the town board looked into it and we were one of the first ones to get one, I think it’ll definitely save us a lot of money in the long run with maintenance and fuel, especially with how expensive fuel is right now," Fisher said.

NJPD started the process about a year ago and ever since has been working with the town board and doing a lot of research. They rode along with a resident who has a Tesla, before going ahead and signing up for their 24-hour loaner program.

“We drove it around, really liked it,” she said. “The performance on it, the technology that it has, and obviously saving money with the gas and the maintenance on it was something that the board wanted to look further into. We figured that we spend approximately $3,500 a year per squad car for gas and that’s kind of average, that was prior before the gas jump price. And then we figured the Tesla and we figured that we would spend probably about $600 a year for charges.

Kelly said the cost of repairs on a normal squad car can vary.

“We change the brakes a lot, the oil changes are routinely and with the Tesla, the only maintenance that we have is to rotate the tires and check the brakes.”

Kelly said it costs about $2 to charge the car at the department.

“It’s about three, three and a half hours to charge it and for a full tank of charge so to speak, we get around 364 miles.”

Kelly said she typically puts around 60 to 100 miles on her car during a shift, 120 at the most.

“Just like with a normal police car, I'm not going to start my shift on empty with gas as well as on empty of a charge. I think that just planning is important if you have an electric car or if you have a gas car.” 

The computer inside the car details how many miles are driven and how much energy is used per trip.

“I'm really excited. Just the short time that we've had it we've noticed the gas savings already. Like I said, the performance on the car is small enough we can get up and around in town, down the alleys. I just feel that it definitely is an asset to have with the department.”

There’s also a mapping system within the car that allows them to see if there’s a curve coming up or intersection when driving out to a call.

“Some of the calls you want to roll up on quietly and that includes the motor noise, the lights and siren if we had a bank alarm or a domestic…If they're outside, obviously they're going to hear the revving of the motor versus not having any of that with the Tesla.”

Kelly said the performance of the car is up and beyond what the regular squad car is, but there’s a big learning curve with it.

“Every time I get in the car it seems like I learned something new with it.”

For people who are hesitant about the addition, Kelly suggested being open minded about it.

“The savings alone, the savings of the gas, the maintenance, it’s gonna save the town money and eventually I see more and more people going with the electric cars.”

NJPD is still waiting on the final lights, radio and radar unit to be installed, but don’t be surprised if you see the new squad car out on the streets.

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