As a loyal employee of our fair city, Im quite aware of the tight budget. I recently witnessed an officer administering justice to the herd of delinquents who frequent the Durango Community Recreation Center. (Many kudos to the officer for this.) However, in the 30 to 40 minutes it took him to deal with this matter, his cruiser was idling. Is it necessary for officers to leave their cars running? I feel slighted after watching my raise that I havent received in nearly three years being burned up by a black and white Crown Vic. Hybrids for the 5-0
The money saved by turning off a cruiser wouldnt be much of a pay hike.
Each two minutes of idling consumes the same amount of fuel to go one mile, according to the California Energy Commission, which calculates such things.
Thus, in 30 minutes, the officer likely burned about a gallon of gas, based on the posted 16 mpg fuel economy of a 2010 Ford Crown Victoria.
Thats about four bucks and not much of an annual raise. But theres no reason to burn fossil fuels unnecessarily.
So its not the money, its the principle. Everyone should watch pennies as well as be good stewards of the environment.
As a matter of policy, officers must leave their cruisers running when their light bar is flashing and when they are in the street, according to Sgt. Deck Shaline of the Durango Police Department.
However, there are other circumstances during which police vehicles should run.
Deck pointed out that cruisers are packed with energy-sucking electronics such as a laptop computer, radio and radar detector. All the lights and emergency warning devices also require a lot of juice.
The sergeant recalled a few instances this winter when officers turned off their cruisers only to return to find the battery drained and the vehicle needing a jump.
So can you blame an officer for not wanting to allow his or her reliable patrol car to die, especially at the rec center after confronting those youthful miscreants, neer-do-wells and hooligans?
Maybe the officer had planned on only a brief encounter, but the administration of justice took longer than anticipated.
In any case, the police will strike a balance between fiscal, environmental and practical responsibilities.
If only we could hook up the cardio machines and stationary bikes to a battery charger that police could plug in to when rousting hoods at the rec center.
Maybe then the folks in blue could become more green.
b b b
Its another outstanding week for the Mea Culpa Mailbag. Theres a detailed explanation of the Forest Lakes noise incident plus a recipe for the definitive Durango Martini.
b Regarding last weeks Action Line about the mysterious gunshot at Forest Lakes, reader and resident Pam Halencak provides the answer.
We noticed a 30- to 50-pound porcupine on a pine branch overhanging the pen that is home to our Great Pyrenees.
Knowing the damage porcupine quills can do to man and beast, we secured the dog and called the wildlife department. They transferred us to the sheriff, who, after a good conversation, said that (the porcupine) was on the list of menacing animals, and we were legally entitled to destroy it.
Asking if they would come out and do the deed, the sheriffs office asked if we could safely shoot it and gave its permission.
Our son, a crack shot, brought it down with one shotgun shell. So you see, all protocols were followed, and our precious dog and someone elses was spared.
b As you might recall, last weeks end-of-the-column blurb stated: You can request anonymity if you include a recipe for your favorite martini.
A Rafter J resident did just that, and here is his most excellent recipe for an adult leisure beverage with a local twist.
The Durango Martini: Equal parts Ska True Blonde and Ten Pin Porter, stirred very gently, not shaken. Omit olive or onion; substitute pickled egg on the side.
E-mail questions to action email@example.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 80301. You can request anonymity if its five oclock somewhere.