Oak Bay residents may begin to spot electric police vehicles cruising around the district as early as next year.
Police Chief Ray Bernoties announced plans to purchase Oak Bay Police Department’s first electric marked police vehicle next year in a Dec. 2 social media post.
“As part of our 2021 budget, we disclosed our intention to move to electric vehicles. The police board was very supportive,” Bernoties said.
We're purchasing our 1st electric marked police vehicle in 2021. We have an admin car (unmarked) that is electric but we may be the 1st (or among the 1st) Police Depts in BC to use a marked electric vehicle. Our goal is to turn our fleet electric as we replace vehicles over time. pic.twitter.com/qhcGs0sYUb
— Ray Bernoties (Police Chief – Oak Bay Police Dept) (@ray_oak) December 2, 2020
He added that the department’s 2021 budget was also presented to Oak Bay mayor and council who were pleased to see police taking steps to convert to an electric fleet.
Oak Bay police have yet to choose a specific make and model for the new electric cruiser, but Bernoties noted that it will need to meet “unique requirements” to serve its purpose as a general police vehicle.
“The vehicle needs to be able to carry a great deal of gear, with extra racks, a computer [and] a thick plexiglass screen between the back seat and the front,” he explained. “However, we’re focused on not letting these challenges stop us from doing what we believe is the right thing.”
The Oak Bay Police Department already has an unmarked electric car, but Bernoties pointed out that if all goes according to plan, the department will be among the first in B.C. to purchase a marked electric vehicle. He said that while Oak Bay is a smaller municipality, the department wants to “show leadership” and make environmentally friendly decisions.
“Our plan is to switch to an electric vehicle every time one of our vehicles is being replaced which [is] about once a year,” he explained. “The make and model may change over time as the industry is evolving rapidly but we don’t want to do nothing” while waiting for the perfect electric police vehicle.